SAFETY – Treat Every Closed Hatch as a “Confined Space”



On February 24th, 2018, aboard the Indonesian flagged M/V SUMIEI at the Indonesian Port of Martapura, Baru, five workers DIED after entering a hold of a ship before it was properly ventilated.

They were warned not to enter for two hours as the cargo (Palm Kernels) gives off a poisonous gas, but one worker decided to go into the hatch anyways.  Shortly after his entry he became unconscious and three other workers went to his aid.  They too were overcome by the poisonous gases!!!  A medical aid worker was next on scene and he too became unconscious, later dying in hospital.

1)    Treat every closed hatch as a “confined space”.  DO NOT ENTER until it has been tested for oxygen content or it has been ventilated as per the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

2)    If a worker goes down due to lack of oxygen, DO NOT ENTER.  Follow the ERP (Emergency Rescue Plan).

This exact scenario happened in the past at Vanterm when two mechanics went to inspect the inside hull of an Empire Stevedoring Barge.  The two entered a confined space and fell into distress.  The first-aid attendant went to the rescue and became the only fatality.  This loss of life happened in our home port in the late 80’s, and it’s still happening today.

Learn Your Basic Workers Rights Under the Canada Labour Code

The Right to Know

The Right to Participate

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

The Right to a Harassment Free Work Place


An Injury to One
is An Injury to All


Local 500 Safety Committee