Japanese report reveals new details about death on ship in Felixstowe

A person died and another was seriously injured after the explosion on the Manhattan Bridge ship at

A person died and another was seriously injured after the explosion on the Manhattan Bridge ship at the Port of Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

More details have emerged about the death of a sailor on a ship in Felixstowe docks, ahead of his inquest.

Celso Banas, 35, and from the Philippines, died in January 2017 aboard the Manhattan Bridge container ship.

Mr Banas was working in the boiler room when an explosion took place killing him and leaving a colleague with severe burns.

An inquest which opened last April found that Mr Banas had been struck by debris from the explosion. A post-mortem confirmed that he had died from multiple injuries.

Now a report carried out by the Japanese authorities has shed more light on the event.


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The Japan Transport Safety Board launched the investigation to determine the cause of the incident which took place on the Japanese registered vessel.

It suggests that there may have been several reasons for the explosion. One explanation is that it was caused by a rapid chemical reaction, involving heated carbon monoxide gas. Alternatively, it may have been triggered by a highly flammable gas from the marine gas oil in the furnace mixing with air.

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The report specifies that Mr Banas was likely to have been hit by an air nozzle blown off by the blast.

Additionally it looks at the causes of a number of emergency trip alarms activated during the course of the evening.

While the final boiler emergency alarm was activated just three minutes before the explosion, the records showed four other times that the alarm was activated between 5.30pm and 7.50pm that evening.

Each time crew on the ship were able to deal with the problems highlighted by the alarm.

The report also confirmed findings by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch that fuel flow to the boiler system had been restricted by waxy deposits.

Such deposits can cause flame failures in boilers triggering the alarms.

It suggested the company behind the vessel had since trained staff about the deposits and made a number of safety changes to the boilers themselves and surrounding equipment.

A pre-inquest hearing into the events surrounding Mr Banas’ death was conducted earlier this week.

A date for the full inquest has yet to be decided.

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