Carbon monoxide can be a serious problem aboard any vessel with an engine. Carbon-monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that is present in the exhaust produced gasoline, oil, diesel and coal burning engines. It is also present in the exhaust from portable generators and space heaters. Ships most commonly release carbon monoxide through their exhaust ports or generator sets.
Last year, seven members of the crew of a Celebrity cruise ship were injured by carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide fumes were thought to have come from some welding that was taking place on the cruise liner.
When carbon monoxide is inhaled it is easily absorbed by the blood and it takes the place of the oxygen that is needed for the body to function. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, and weakness. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can cause death.
Carbon monoxide is most likely to accumulate in enclosed spaces. A blocked exhaust vent can cause a carbon monoxide build up around the vent. If the ship is idling or stopped next to another vessel that is idling, carbon monoxide fumes may come in through exhaust vents.
If you or another crew member crew member has collapsed for an unknown reason, it is highly possible that the loss of consciousness was due to the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It is an invisible gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. The only way to detect carbon monoxide is with a carbon monoxide alarm. These battery operated alarms give an audible warning when carbon monoxide levels rise to potentially dangerous levels. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in any area of the ship that is not well-ventilated.
A vessel owner must provide crew members with a safe working environment. If you are a seaman who has been injured on-the-job, you may have a Jones Act injury claim. A maritime injury attorney can advise you of your rights. Contact The Young Firm at 866-666-5129 to learn more.
Our maritime injury attorneys have put together a tool kit of information that includes the book, Employee’s Guide To Maritime Injury Law. This is available free of charge to any injured seaman, just click on the link to request a copy.