Tanker explosion survivor calls for safety overhaul
A welder who escaped death but not severe burns when fumes exploded on an oil tanker moored off Newfoundland in 2006 wants an investigation into the incident reopened.
Pat Stamp, whose face was disfigured and whose body sustained severe injuries when the MV Kometik ignited in Conception Bay in 2006, also wants stricter safety rules to protect contract workers who work on Canadian vessels.
The Kometik explosion killed deckhand Wayne Dalton, who along with Stamp had been doing maintenance work in the hold of the tanker when a fast-moving fire broke out.
Stamp, who was never interviewed during the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's investigation into the explosion, said a metal grate at the top of the tank's emergency ladder prevented him from getting out initially.
"At the top of the tank, I was stuck, and it's a part of the factor of why we lost Wayne Dalton," Stamp told CBC News.
"I was stuck in this tank for a reason, but I don't know why."
Stamp said that Dalton was below him, and that he died trying to leave through another exit.
Michael Kruger, the TSB's lead investigator, admitted that his officials did not know about that obstruction until Stamp informed them last week.
However, Kruger said he has since learned that the grates are removable, and that the ship's permanent crew is well aware of them and trained in how to remove them.
"All you have to do is push straight up and then shove it left or right out of your way," he said.
Stamp wants contract staff to be told about the grates before they do any type of on-board work.
Kruger, though, said that while he expects that contract staff on such ships will now be briefed on possible risks, he does not see a need for mandatory changes.
Meanwhile, Kruger told CBC News that it was not necessary to have interviewed Stamp, particularly because Stamp was hospitalized after the explosion.
"It was considered more considerate not to bother Mr. Stamp, unless I absolutely had to," Kruger said.
"As far as I'm concerned, he was an innocent victim of circumstances which were completely beyond his control."