3/28/17: Safety alert – Indications of chemical reaction and destruction of aluminum plating

The Coast Guard issued Marine Safety Alert 01-17 to remind vessel owners and operators to consider all hazards related to chemical spills. In addition to potential health risks to personal involved with routine handling and clean up of spills, there is also the potential for adverse chemical reactions with vessel components, construction materials, and other items onboard.

Recently Coast Guard inspectors found several cracks and parted seams in the aluminum braces of the structure that was the underside of the vessel’s cargo deck. They learned that there had been a caustic soda spill on the deck. While it was washed off the vessel with water, a diluted caustic soda and water mix seeped into and settled underneath the wood planking. A chemical reaction then occurred, causing damage and the need for extensive repairs.

Caustic soda is highly reactive with aluminum causing it to oxidize and corrode quickly. Additionally, when caustic soda is exposed to aluminum under some conditions it can also produce highly flammable hydrogen gas. caustic soda is highly reactive with aluminum causing it to oxidize and corrode quickly. Additionally, when caustic soda is exposed to aluminum under some conditions it can also produce highly flammable hydrogen gas.

This document is provided for informational purpose only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational, or material requirements. Developed by Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles and distributed by Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis. Questions or comments may be sent to HQS-PF-fldr-CG-INV@uscg.mil.

See the full alert here.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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