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DBTG to focus on preventing enclosed space accidents

DBTG to focus on preventing enclosed space accidents

(Posted on 02/08/18)

The International Dry Bulk Terminals Group (DBTG) will discuss the important topic of accidents deriving from working in enclosed spaces such as the cargo holds of bulk ships at its next meeting in Baltimore in October. 

The DBTG was founded 20 years ago as a not-for-profit organisation that would provide a voice and forum for owners and operators of dry bulk terminals.  Two decades later, DBTG has grown and its’ Members handle some 35% of world seaborne dry bulk cargoes.  Today the voice is stronger than ever on both the national and more importantly with a seat at the IMO, the international stage – it has to be strong as it is the only credible voice of the dry bulk industry.

DBTG Members gather twice a year to meet and discuss a variety of issues from the technical to the operational and this year is no exception.  In April the venue was Hamburg and in October Members will assemble in Baltimore, USA.  Executive Director Nic Ingle explained “with Members across every continent, we aim to hold one meeting a year at a suitable location in Europe, the other somewhere similarly suitable outside Europe and in October it will be the Baltimore”.

DBTG has some notable achievements to shout about too.  From the inception of the Blu Code to more recently playing a central role in the IMO tasked Global Bauxite Working Group (GBWG) DBTG has led the way in setting industry standards.  The GBWG was set up following the loss of the Bulk Jupiter off Vietnam in January 2015 and the research it conducted established that it is Dynamic Separation that causes some bauxite cargoes to become unstable.  Dynamic Separation is a process where moisture in bauxite cargoes with a high percentage of fine material is forced to the top of the cargo in each hold due to the compaction of the fine particles in the cargo, causing a free surface water effect that renders the vessel unstable and liable to capsize.

In Baltimore, DBTG will discuss another important and little talked about subject, accidents relating to solid bulk cargoes, more specifically, working in enclosed spaces such as ships holds.  Independent research, conducted by Kevin Cribbin,  has recently revealed that in the last 19 years, at least 106 people, either shore workers or ship’s crew have lost their lives through either asphyxiation and/or carbon monoxide poisoning or through fire and/or explosion.  Nic Ingle said “that such a large number of lives have been lost in this way, nearly 6 every year, is shocking.  Considering that over 80% of that number suffocated is simply not acceptable”.  He went on “In Hamburg we heard the tragic account of a 20 year old terminal worker who died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning earlier this year and we simply must do more to prevent such terrible loss of life.  Setting industry standards is the DBTG philosophy and we are raising this matter at the IMO”.

The Baltimore meeting has a full two day agenda with more than 20 senior executive speakers already confirmed from across the dry bulk terminal sector.  Topics covered range from working in enclosed spaces to capital investment to spontaneous combustion to health and safety.  The meeting runs from the 3rd to the 5th of October 2018 and more details can be found at www.drybulkterminals.org or email nic@drybulkterminals.org

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