SS WILLIAM T. STEELE: DEATH OF THREE SHIPS OFFICERS AT GUAYANILLA, PUERTO RICO ON 18 NOVEMBER 1972. MARINE CASUALTY REPORT
On November 17, 1972, preparations were being made to receive a cargo of benzene aboard the tankship WILLIAM T. STEELE. Because of an oversight in lining up the cargo-tank valves, benzene was inadvertently loaded into the No. 9 center tank, which was reserved for xylene. The benzene was transferred to a forward tank, and the No. 9 center tank was washed and ventilated. Two crewmembers entered the forward section of the tank to insert a blank between the flanges in the cargo pipeline, while the chief mate entered the aft section of the tank to educt water. When the flanges were opened, benzene began to leak and the benzene fumes forced the two crewmembers to leave the tank without inserting the blank. The chief mate remained in the tank and was overcome by the fumes. In attempting to rescue the chief mate, the master and the second mate perished, as did the chief mate. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the death was the prolonged inhalation of a highly concentrated mixture of benzene vapor and air within the tank.
- Includes Marine Safety Recommendations M-74-25 thru M-74-31.
National Transportation Safety Board800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC United States 20594
United States Coast Guard2100 Second Street, SW
Washington, DC United States 20593
- Publication Date: 1974-9-26
- Pagination: 31 p.
- TRT Terms: Atmosphere; Crash investigation; Hazards; Human error; Marine safety; Tankers; Tanks (Containers); Ventilation systems
- Old TRIS Terms: Hazardous atmospheres; Ss william t. steele; Tank venting; Tanker safety
- Subject Areas: Marine Transportation; Safety and Human Factors;
- Accession Number: 00080194
- Record Type: Publication
- Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
- Report/Paper Numbers: USCG-NTSB-MAR-74-6
- Files: NTIS, TRIS
- Created Date: Jan 29 1978 12:00AM