On Feb 10 2020, LPG carrier GAS PRODIGY was found under propylene leakage in way of the outlet of No.1 cargo pump after berthing at Zhongjiang Terminal, Jiangyin Port, Fujian Province, China. It was then confirmed that the leakage was originated from a crack of 3cm long on the joint of the cargo pump housing and the discharging pipeline. At the time being, over 2400 tons of propylene were carried on board, the pressure inside the tank was about 0.99 Mpa and most seriously there was no way to cut the propylene supply. The Vessel was then shifted to a provisional anchorage nearby for emergency treatment.
Propylene is a hypo-toxic and highly inflammable material that is prone to flame and explosion if mishandled. On February 12, the Management Council of the Development Zone of Jiangyin Port emergently mobilised a local company to get onboard the Vessel and attempted to seal up the crack. Despite that the leakage was significantly mitigated, the initial sealing repair failed to completely stop the leak. On February 13, Fuzhou government activated the Contingency Plan Against Hazardous Chemical Safety Accident and started to deploy the emergency response according to instructions from Fujian Provincial Government.
Time is Against Men’s Life and Property and Every Minute Counts!
On the afternoon of February 13, following to P&I Club’s commission to take part in this case, our company reacted swiftly by organizing an emergency response team including sending Capt. Tony Huang and Chief Engineer Xingan Lin at site to assist the emergency response, in the time when China suffered most from Covid-19.
Key Points and Our Contributions in the Accident:
Feb-14: Our Engineer arrived at Jiangyin Port, Fuzhou to investigate the leaking accident onboard the ship, and measured the leaking amount, gas concentration and pressure readings. At the same time, Capt. Tony Huang set to compile thewhich was consented by our principal on February 16.
Feb-17: Due to the limited effect of the initial sealing repair, the National Emergency Management Command recommended another repair company to have the second sealing repair on 17 February. However, the second sealing repair only effectively stopped the leak for 24 hours before it returned to the original condition.
Feb-18: Capt. Tony Huang proceeded to Jiangyin Port to meet with the Owners’ Emergency Response Team and attended a meeting about the emergency bunkering service for the Vessel.
Feb-19: Capt. Tony Huang led the Owners’ Emergency Response Team to actively discuss and exchange opinions with the Port Authority, local MSA and Management Council of the Development Zone of Jiangyin Port, to improve the <Emergency Berthing and Discharge Plan>.
Feb-21: Fuzhou Port Development Centre organized experts and held a meeting to evaluate the improved. Since the second sealing repair failed to meet its anticipated objective, the meeting suggested the Owners to adopt STS transfer at anchorage to resolve the crisis.
Feb-24: The Emergency Response Command Centre was established with Executive Deputy Mayor of Fuzhou City as the main commander and governmental officials from Fujian Provincial Emergency Department, Fujian Provincial Transport Department, Fujian MSA, Fuqing Municipal Government as fellow members of the Command Centre. Our company’s experts continued to prepare for the STS (Ship-to-Ship) Plan in Anchorage and helped to decide that LPG carrier HUA NAN 1 would be appointed to execute the STS Transfer.
Feb-27: Fuzhou Port Development Centre held another meeting to evaluate the <Emergency STS Transfer Plan> prepared by our company which was then confirmed by all attending parties and was approved to implement by the Command Centre.
On February 28, Capt. Tony Huang acted on behalf of the Owners to monitor the implementation of the Emergency STS Transfer and to coordinate with Command Centre from government, while our Engineer Xingan Lin worked at the site for the communications among all operating parties.
The STS Transfer started at 6 am on February 29. During the implementation of the STS Transfer, we have encountered a few technical and meteorological challenges. On the morning of March 1, when HUA NAN 1 was secured alongside GAS PRODIGY and was ready to start the second round of transfer, however GAS PRODIGY suddenly had a failure in her discharge valve. Thanks to our Engineer Xingan Lin’s immediate commitment into the emergency repair, the discharge valve malfunction was cleared before noon, allowing the STS Transfer to finish on time before the weather and sea conditions began to deteriorate in the late afternoon.
As of 20:00 of March 1 when HUA NAN 1 safely berthed at the Zhongjiang Terminal for discharge, the STS Transfer took all-together 38 hours to complete.
The STS Transfer with respect to onboard propylene leakage hits the first record in China. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, representatives of the Owners and P&I Clubs were unable to personally attend on site. On behalf of which, our company worked closed with Owners’ Emergency Response Team and successfully eliminated the risk of propylene leakage, protected lives and property onboard the ship and our principal’s interests.