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Safety bulletin issued after tragic harbour death

Safety bulletin issued after tragic harbour death

Published by Emma Carton at 2:57pm 10th March 2020. (Updated at 3:19pm 10th March 2020)

Marine accident investigators have issued a safety bulletin after the tragic death of a young apprentice in a Cornish harbour.

Conor Moseley from the Penzance area lost his life on board the boat, Resurgam, at Newlyn at the end of last year.

Police, firefighters, paramedics, Coastguards and a helicopter got the call in November but, tragically, the 20-year-old could not be saved.

Now the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has confirmed the incident involved the "inadvertent discharge of a condensed aerosol fire extinguishing system".

Chief investigator of marine accidents for the MAIB, Andrew Moll, warned that while such an event had been noted as a hazard, "loss of life was not identified as a potential outcome".

Conor Moseley
Marine accident investigators have issued a safety bulletin after the death of a young apprentice in a Cornish harbour.

What happened during the incident?

"On 15th November 2019, the UK registered fshing vessel Resurgam was in Newlyn, England undergoing maintenance. 

"An engineer and an apprentice from the owner's shore-based support team were working on the main engine in the engine room. Also working in the engine room were two contractors installing a new FirePro condensed aerosol fire extinguishing system.

"During the installation and without warning, the fire extinguishing system partially and inadvertently discharged, filling the engine room with a dense cloud of aerosol fire suppressing particles.

"Both installation contractors and the company's engineer managed to evacuate, but the apprentice collapsed in the engine room. 

"He was later recovered by the local fire and rescue service but was found not breathing and could not be resuscitated".

The MAIB safety bulletin continues: "The exact causes and circumstances of this accident are still being investigated and the findings will be published by the MAIB in a full investigation report. 

"However, during the inadvertent discharge, it is evident that the apprentice inhaled a high concentration of the suppressant particles and this significantly contributed to the fatality. 

"FirePro's Installation and User Manual and its product's material safety data sheets had recognised the inadvertent discharge of the system, particularly during installation and maintenance, as a hazard.

"However, the loss of life was not identified as a potential outcome; therefore, the risk associated with inhaling or ingesting a large volume of the suppressant particles was not fully appreciated or protected against".

MAIB Safety Bulletin

Incident at Newlyn Harbour
20-year-old Conor Moseley lost his life on board a boat at Newlyn harbour at the end of last year.

What lessons does the safety bulletin recommend?

"Vessel owners, operators and those contracted to install FirePro and other similar condensed aerosol fire extinguishing systems should be fully aware of the potential risk to life from exposure to the aerosol

"Safety precautions should be put in place to ensure that personnel are not exposed to this hazard:

"Prior to intentional discharge of a condensed aerosol system, there should be visible and audible alarms to alert personnel. Checks should also be made to ensure the protected compartment has been evacuated before the system is activated.

"When condensed aerosol fire extinguishing systems are being installed or maintained the system should be fully isolated to guard against inadvertent activation, non-essential personnel should be clear of the area and an enclosed space rescue plan should be in place".

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch added: "Safety recommendations shall in no case create a presumption of blame or liability".

They continued: "This bulletin is not written with litigation in mind and, pursuant to Regulation 14(14) of the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012, shall be inadmissible in any judicial proceedings whose purpose, or one of whose purposes is to attribute or apportion liability or blame".

MAIB Safety Bulletin

An inquest into Conor's death was opened and adjourned back in December.

You can read the full safety bulletin from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch here.

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