Enclosed Space Entry (again)

Enclosed space entry is still a major cause of death in the marine industry:

yet all vessels have pressurized air onboard but no pipes to each enclosed space where a simple mask and airline could have saved all those lives.
Worst case we might be arguing about the air quality but the reality is…
If you work on a vessel you are cannon fodder

That would just be more equipment to check and maintain. Who has the time to do that?

How about just using the equipment provided in conjunction with following confined space policy/procedure? If they’re not going to do that, how could you expect them to use a supplied air system?


Enclosed space entry was something that NOBODY I ever worked with or for fucked around with. Too many people have died for competent stupidity, and the sad part is, it’s really not that hard. The space isn’t ready? Then turn the blower back on come back after lunch. Or tomorrow.


Its whats easy and whats easy has more chance of being done.
A mask is easy to carry and for the cost of a BA you could have lots more on board.

So you want to run ship service air all through cargo tanks? So a pinhole leak in the air line let’s cargo back into the compressor? That doesn’t sound like a good idea.

Dragging a mask and an airline through a void space or tank isn’t what’s easy, adding equipment to inspect and maintain isn’t easy. What’s easy is correctly completing what you should already be doing prior to/during initial entry. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, just need to stop taking short cuts to save time.


This is a fairly common problem on tugs, and especially barges. No test meters. No SCBAs. USCG does not require for Subchapter M, insurance does not require. Owners say: “it’s not required” Then some emergency requires entry into enclosed space. It’s a wonder there are not more fatalities than there are.


yes the simplest job will get done if its easier than the correct way so why not make it easy?

You keep using the word easy…but it’s becoming apparent that you don’t understand what it means.

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I have entered 100’s of enclosed spaces, i.e. tanks, without any problems. I only use two water driven fans, oxygen O2 meters and one hydrocarbon gas meter. After having ventilated the tank using the fans, to be dry before entry, I never enter slippery tanks, I check the O2 content to be 21 % and that the air is fresh, and then I enter without any BA set but with a small, portable O2 meter. Any hydrocarbon gas in various pockets you can then smell using your nose, so ventilate for 0% hydrocarbon gas in the space. Breathing hydrocarbon gas makes you dizzy and you will get a severe head ache, if you don’t, but hydrocarbon gas isn’t lethal.

In Norway we have a simple way of checking enclosed spaces:
We send in a Swede first!!

PS> Water drive fans are optional:


the industry keeps killing people, so your saying the current system is as good as it can be?

I believe that you may be missing the point, but I can’t tell if it’s on purpose. There are existing systems in place. Enforcement, correct use and increased availability would drastically increase compliance AND safety. You are suggesting adding increasing complexity rather than increasing safety.
Further, supply air for breathing is carefully regulated and requires particular compliance, maintenance and correct use to be legal and safe, which means tank entry with a non-inspected and certified source for air would subject the owner to liability. Plus, it’s just dumb to trade betting your life in a tank dive on substandard practices and gear.
I believe the ‘Lead by example’ expression applies. You want to go on dirty air in a tank, you go right ahead. Knock yourself out. In the meanwhile, you get that your idea is more likely to kill someone than not, right?

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Your missing the point
Your point of view is the process before the person makes the decision to enter and you want to make that technology and process simple.

What happens prior in setup or process is irrelevant when its obvious its too easy to skip todays process as clearly its too onerous.

If you can refill a BA tank on board you already have the major part of a breathing air system.

education, a person needs to have it explained to them …"down there you can be taking huge gulps of “air” and next thing you know you’re prone on the tank bottom, // a very clear idea of how totally easy and unsuspecting it is to die, right there at the bottom of the ladder.

Absolutely, if you actually follow the system it will keep you alive. I follow the system and after more than a decade filled with countless entries and thousands of man hours in confined spaces…surprise…everyone is still here …

If you skirt around it to save time, or don’t understand it, or you think it doesn’t need to be followed, or that your way is better, at some point in your career the ship will try to kill you or those you have placed in harm’s way. At that point, the current system based on countless lessons learned the hard way won’t be there to help.

Look at the article you posted, your precious breathing apparatus wouldn’t save the engineer in the scav box. How did that happen? Now I’m completely guessing but Ill speculate that there was no energy isolation to keep the engine from being started while they were inside and basic confined space entry procedures were obviously not followed. System not followed, 2ae is dead.

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agreed the system works but too onerous hence too many short cuts.
Its need modifying.

It’s not onerous. Wait until the space is safe to enter. Do not enter before.

Nobody will ever come back at you and say you should have gone into the space before it was safe. Ever.


It’s really not that onerous when the other option is dying or killing one of your subordinates.