Jul 082010

Compliant but not safe

Korean-registered fishing vessel Pantas No.1, “was fully compliant” with a New Zealand safe ship management system but that did not prevent a fatality caused by poor on-board safety practices.

The bosun, who was directing hatch operations while unloading cargo operations from inside a rigged safety line at number 3 fish hold, was catapulted forward by the safety rope and fell down the hold when a load that was being hoisted caught on the safety rope, pulling it taught and displacing one of the securing points to which it was attached. The bosun later died from his injuries.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission has recommended to the Director of Maritime New Zealand to address the issue of a poor safety culture that existed on board the Pantas No.1 and to assess whether the poor safety culture might also extend to the ship operator and owner.

Four safety violations were common on the ship: not properly fencing number 3 hatch, stepping inside the “safety” line, riding the load and not fencing the fish pound hatch. Three out of those four killed the Bosun.

Says the official report: “The ‘safety’ line could not be described as a fence or guard rail and did not comply with the requirements of the Code in, the number, height, tension or position of the lines. The bosun as deck supervisor would have overseen or at least assisted in the placement and fitting of the “safety” line, and as hatchman at the hatch where the accident happened could have personally ensured that the “safety” line was rigged for his own safety. Why he chose to accept it as a barrier could not be determined.”

“A culture of poor adherence to safety standards existed on board the Pantas No.1, which possibly extends up through the operator and owner given the design deficiencies for fencing off openings, and the examples of unsafe behaviour exhibited by more than one member of the crew, indicating that this operator might require close regulatory supervision.”

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