September, 1976

This is a repeating event

197623SepAll DayHMS GLASGOW EXPLOSION 1976HMS Glasgow Tyneside (GB)Industry:ShippingCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Deterioration

Summary

A fire on one of the Royal Navy’s latest guided missile destroyers has killed eight men. The £23m HMS Glasgow was being fitted out at a shipyard near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north-east England, and was due to start sea trials shortly.

It is thought the fire at Swan Hunter’s Neptune yard was started by a welder’s torch after gas had been leaking from an oxygen cylinder. Six other shipyard workers were also injured in the blaze. Survivors reported hearing an explosion before the fire took hold and spread rapidly to three decks of the ship.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation confirmed oxygen, which had been leaking all night from a supply line, helped cause a fire to be ignited by a welder’s torch and burn more fiercely than normal. The HSE blamed Swan Hunter Shipbuilders for not ensuring the oxygen pipes had been disconnected the previous evening. But it also said ship workers failed to notice signs of leaking oxygen espite references in safety manuals and a film shown three times at the yard. The report also recommended designers consider providing alternative methods of escape from ships during their construction.

HMS Glasgow was commissioned three years later and is on active naval service.

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