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The link which failed was a special long one connecting a grab chain to a swivel. It was made from En 14A steel and in continuous use for two years. On one of the fracture faces the chisel edge weld preparation was clearly visible and the crack progression markings present indicated failure was due to fatigue. Macro-etched cross sections showed a lack of penetration and fusion in the weld. Fatigue cracks developed and slowly progressed through the weld metal. Fracture occurred when the remaining area of sound metal was insufficient to support the load. Lack of penetration of this magnitude could be revealed by radiography or ultrasonics but it would be difficult to detect the presence of cracks in course of development from the defects. It would be more prudent to ensure that welded links of this type were free from internal cavities before being put into service.

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