ECONOMISER – CHEMICAL SOOT BLOWING :
The ship was a bulk carrier. Instead of steam soot blowing arrangement, the ship had a chemical injection system, using a venturi. The chemical if fed in a hopper and the chemical is drawn onto the tubes when economizer is in operation, by venturi. The hopper us normally filled up with the required chemical and the hopper will be closed.
The compressed air is let into the venturi as drive medium, and in the neck the chemical dosage tube is connected.The 3rd engineer who was incharge of soot blowing, on this fateful day, he closed all the valves and opened the hopper for filling it with the chemical. The valve from the exhaust gas side was not holding properly and was leaking. When he was loosening the last thread, the cap flew onto his cheek (as the hopper was pressurized), hurting him and also the remnants of previous chemicals, splashed onto his eyes.
Even before he could go to wash basing for flushing his eyes with water, the eyes started bulging very fast and the injury became so severe that he lost his vision on both the eyes. This incident had cost his career at sea.It is imperative that when handling chemicals or the equipments using such chemicals, the safety goggles to be used. The 3rd engineer, did not wear the goggles, and also he was not using any hand gloves while handling the chemicals.
Such treatment lines and valves are to be inspected during the non operative periods and maintained properly, to avoid such unexpected accidents.