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Casualty Information

Published by Det Norske Veritas

No. 3/00


SIZE (grt): <10.000


Near casualty due to

deficient ballast tank air pipe
Course of events


While at sea in ballasted condition, an unexpected ingress

of water occurred in one of the
vessel's starboard ballast tanks.
As a consequence, the vessel
heeled permanently several
degrees to starboard.
The vessel started the voyage
with a slight list to starboard
due to a SW wind of force 6-7,
which came in on the port bow.
Within a relatively short period
time, the list increased significantly. The course was altered
in order to head into the wind
and sea and the vessel returned
to the port of departure.

Probable cause
Subsequent investigations revealed that water had entered
the starboard ballast tank no. 3.
The tank structure was proved
to be tight, but the closing ball of
the air pipe from the starboard
wing ballast tank no. 3 was no
longer in place. See fig. 1. The
retaining bar had broken off at

the top and the ball had been

free to go overboard. Apparently, the water had entered ballast
tank no 3 starboard in this way.
Since no. 3 was the only slack
tank at departure, it gradually
filled up and caused the list.
All the other vent heads were
checked and a few more closing
balls were found missing.

Extent of damage
The cargo on the main deck
had shifted and a number of
cars were found damaged.

Figure 1: Transverse section

The purpose of Casualty Information is to provide the marine industry with lessons to be learned from incidents of ship damage and more serious accidents. In this way, DNV hopes
to contribute to the prevention of similar occurrences in the future. The information included is not necessarily restricted to cover ships classed with DNV and is presented, without
obligation, for information purposes only. Queries may be directed to the Dept. Maritime Industry (DTP 803), Division Technology and Products, N-1322 Hvik, Norway, fax+47
67579911. E-mail
Copyright and disclaimer: This publication may be reproduced freely on condition that Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is always stated as the source. DNV accepts no responsibility for any errors or misinterpretations.

The probable initial cause was that

the retaining bars may have been
used as mooring points for bunker
barges and similar, and in combination with wasting, had detached
over time.

Lessons to be learned
Retaining bars for closing
balls in air pipes should not be
used as mooring points. Other
means of mooring facilities
should be considered for that
The presence of closing
balls and retaining bars in air

pipes as above is to be thoroughly checked at regular

intervals, according to the
maintenance system on board.
The class surveyor is notified in this regard at periodical
(annual) load line surveys
through the survey checklists.