A tank was going to be painted internally when the ship was in dock. The manhole had been open for some time and work had been carried out in the tank on several occasions. The tank was thus ventilated and approved for work. Two workers at the shipyard were hired to paint the tank on the inside. A while later, the ship’s crew heard shouts. They rushed over and found a dock worker who told them that a man was unconscious down in the tank. The other painter was still in the tank, trying to pull out his unconscious colleague. The crew immediately alerted the emergency services and started to put in a fan to ventilate the tank. They gave oxygen to the unconscious person and managed to get him out of the tank. He was breathing regularly without assistance but he had passed out and was taken to hospital for treatment. He probably fell unconscious due to the toxic vapours from the solvent in the paint they were applying to the tank. According to information, the man was using a filter mask.
The event described ended well, but it shows the importance of always making a risk-analysis for work in confined, poorly ventilated spaces. Supplied air respirators must also be made available.