Familiarity with equipment crucial to avoid accidents

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The incident

An engine room crew member came into the galley and noticed smoke coming from the oil which was in the deep-frying pan. The engineer checked the temperature of the oil in the deep-frying pan using a digital thermometer from the galley, and the digital thermometer showed at out of range limit. The maximum for this thermometer was 200°C, so  the oil was more than 200°C.

The deep-frying pan was switched off and a lock out/tag out was applied for further investigation. The frying pan was allowed to cool down and the oil drained out. When the oil from the deep-frying pan was cooled down and drained it was noticed that the temperature sensor elements of both thermostats were not in the original place.

After the temperature sensor elements were put in the correct place, the deep-frying pan was filled with oil again; both thermostats were tested and found to be working properly.

Probable cause

According to IMCA, the following elements played a key role in the incident:

  • Temperature sensor elements of both thermostats were not fitted in the original place;
  • The galley crew were not aware of the function of the temperature sensor elements inside the deep-fryer, nor of the potential consequences if those sensor elements were in the wrong place.

In addition, there was:

  • Lack of awareness; and
  • Lack of familiarity with equipment.

Lessons learned

After the incident, the following emerge as lessons learned:

  • Clear instructions must be provided for galley crew about the cleaning of a deep-frying pan, including ensuring that the galley crew are aware of proper positioning of the temperature sensors inside the deep-frying pan during the cleaning process, and know not to move them;
  • Recommend check of positioning of temperature sensors on similar equipment in galleys on other vessels;
  • On this specific vessel, replace thermostat sensors in the original position and check thermostats with a calibrated temperature probe.

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