Jan 232016

So what do you do when you experience an incident that was very nearly an accident? Or a dangerous situation, an accident in waiting, that you think you can do nothing about? Do you curse, shrug and forget because you think nothing can be done? Or your job might be at risk if you make a fuss about it? There is a way to solve that problem – it’s called CHIRP, the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme.

CHIRP has released a video, made by Maritime Films UK, about how it works and how it can help you keep yourself safe, without compromising your job, with examples of success stories. Click “Continue reading” below to watch the video.

Continue reading »

Dec 282012
A very slight hissing noise was heard after unplugging the battery power cable indicating that the air bottle had been activated.

A very slight hissing noise was heard after unplugging the battery power cable indicating that the air bottle had been activated.

Flotation righting bags are an essential safety component of Fast Rescue Craft, FRC. The experience of a Marine Safety Forum, MSF, member described in a recent safety alert suggests that it might be a good idea to check the air cylindre and its connections.

Says MSF: “The fast rescue craft on an anchor handler was being prepared for an MOB drill with the rig. A crew member was attempting to gain safe access to the FRC to unplug the battery power charge by holding onto the A frame. In doing so, he had inadvertently disturbed an exposed section of the activation cable for the
floatation righting bag.

The exposed cable for the righting bag exited the protective tubing on the A frame and connects to the trigger mechanism of the air bottle.

A very slight hissing noise was heard after unplugging the battery power cable indicating that the air bottle had been activated. Closer inspection revealed that the activation cable could be wriggled to stop the flow of air.

Since air had been partly discharged, it was decided to pull the cable and activate the righting bag fully.

FRC Make and Model: MARE GTC 700 Rigid Fast Rescue Craft.

The exposed section of activation cable exiting the protective tubing and leading to trigger mechanism was accidently disturbed when crew member was gaining safe access by holding onto the A-frame resulting in
partial activation of the trigger mechanism
Continue reading »

Apr 112012

Marine Safety Forum reports a recent incident on board a vessel which highlights the importance of close interface between contractors working onboard and the vessel crews.

During the demobilization of contractor equipment, the equipment had to be Locked Out and Tagged Out (LOTO) to ensure that a “ZERO ENERGY STATE” had been achieved before work commenced.

The contractor visited the ECR and with vessel crew locked and tagged out the system and started work. The power was verified to be locked out at the equipment and isolated at the breaker in the deck distribution box and work commenced.

During work scope the lock out key was passed to another member of the contractor team who proceeded to the ECR to remove the LOTO and re-energised the system. Continue reading »

Feb 272012

View of bottle rack showing dislodged bottle

Ensure that locking pins on lifting racks have clear indications whether they are locked or not. That the lesson from a recent call incident at an offshore installation.

Details of near miss:

Whilst back-loading of cargo from an installation, it was noticed that an airborne gas rack on its way down to the Supply Vessel had the door swinging open. It was also noticed from the bridge that one of the bottles inside the rack was at an angle.

The Master alerted the Crane Operator who landed the unit without damage or further incident.

The locking pins on the gas rack door were both found to be in the open position and have
now been secured. One of the bottles inside the unit was found to be looseand able to tip backwards and forwards despite there being a ratchet strap around them.

On checking the bottle rack, it was not immediately apparent that the locks were open as there is no clear indication of the open and locked positions; there were no stickers or other form of markings to show the position the handle should be in. The door looked secure, but on physically
checking, it could still be opened.

Investigation findings:
The rack was not of a type that the Installation deck crew were familiar with, and this may have contributed to the incident.
The rack had been made ready for shipment the previous day when the internal retaining bar had been secured with tie wraps and an additional fabric ratchet strop had been used to secure the cylinders in the rack. These prevented any bottles falling to the deck of the vessel, which could have been potentially serious for the vessel deck crew, although the strap was probably a bit too low.

The rack had then been given a visual check and lifted with no incident from a landing area where bottles had been loaded, to the roof to await backload.

On the day of the back-load, the material controller had carried out the Banks-man’s checks and visually checked the door was closed, attached a Banks-man’s label and sent the load down to the boat. With hindsight, a physically check of the door security was not done as it was believed that the door was secure.

1. Banks-man’s checks should include not only visual, but a physical check of security of any opening doors or panels, not only on gas bottle racks, but any back-loaded cargo.


2. The internal retaining bar and application of an additional fabric ratchet strop clearly prevented the bottles falling when the door opening and it is recommended that bottles racks are not moved without these additional precautions being used.

3. Ratchet straps should be fitted in a position which takes into account the likely centre of gravity of the bottles.
4. Suppliers of bottle racks of similar design should be contacted to make them aware of the need to provide clear indication and instruction as to how doors should be secured.

Mar 302011

Two incidents involving chain slings have revealed that chains made by an as-yet unnamed Chinese manufacturer may fail well below their safe working limit. Step Change In Safety has issued an alert on the incident.

On two separate occasions chain slings were used to perform lifting operations. The slings, from the same supplier, failed whilst a lift was being performed.

In the first incident an arrangement of four 5.3 tonne collared chain slings were used in a ‘basket’ configuration around the lifting points of a 20 tonne concrete block. After 5 blocks had been moved using this method team members noticed that one of the chain links had parted at its weld point.

The second Incident invoved two 2-legged 11.2 tonne chain slings to create a 4 point sling arrangement was used to relocate 13 tonne concrete blocks, similar to the first incident, after four blocks had been moved the work party noticed that a link in the chain had failed at its weld point.

The lift plan and slinging arrangement techniques were appropriate for the task. All of the slings were new prior to the start of the operations.

The chain slings were sourced from a single supplier.

It was found that the chains received were certified by batch testing only and it transpired that the name and signature on the certification was replicated by computerised signature and not necessarily the person who actually carried out the inspection or testing, giving concerns as to whether there had been any testing.
The company which bought the chains from a UK supplier has initiated a requirement for all chains purchased to be tested to Safe Working Limit.

All chains recieved from this supplier were immediately placed in quarantine and returned to the supplier, which was instructed to perform an investigation as to why the equipment failed and all similar equipment is recalled awaiting the investigation and report.

The UK based sub-supplier does not manufacture the chain but acts as an agent on behalf of  manufacturers in China, some of whom  do not hold export licences. They have immediately withdrawn all chain from sale supplied by this company, additionally cancelled all orders with this agent and will continue to request the manufacturers details but more importantly the reason for failure.


Apr 222010

The weld area

An alert rig site senior mechanic spotted a welder carrying out a job that could have led to an explosion. It is a reminder to check thoroughly what’s inside a tank before welding the outside.

A safety alert from the International Association of Drlling Contractors says: “The rig accumulator supply tank required maintenance which included the task of welding on the tank and piping. The rig site senior mechanic was walking within the vicinity of the job being performed and noticed  the welder welding on the tank. The operation was immediately stopped by the mechanic when he realized
the potential explosive atmosphere that existed.

The tank itself had not been purged. The tank lid was still closed and secured in place. The contents of the tank had not been emptied nor cleaned prior to the welding taking place. The welder was not aware of the tank contents. There was not a well defined fire watch being utilized. A fire extinguisher or pressurized water hose was not within the working vicinity as required by  policy and the Permit to Work procedure.

Continue reading »

Mar 252010

image Southampton Magistrates Court has fined Captain Arvind Nath, the master of the gas carrier Sigas Sylvia £1,500, plus £1,000 costs for failing to discharge his duties properly to such an extent as to be likely to endanger ships, structures or individuals.

On the afternoon on Wednesday 6 January 2010, Sigas Sylvia, bound from Liverpool to Tees Port was transiting the Strait of Dover when it was involved with another tanker, MV Clipper Leander. This was seen on radar by HM Coastguard at Dover. Shortly after the incident, the Sigas Sylvia was warned by Dover Coastguard that they were about to aground on the Goodwin Sands.

Continue reading »

Jun 172009

Two ABs working on the main deck of a PSV servicing an offshore installation are lucky to be walking around, following a close call involving the loading of a secion of crane boom according to a safety alert issued by the Aberdeen-based Marine Safety Forum.

Says the safety alert

“A recent high potential near miss occurred on a PSV during the back loading of a crane boom section from an offshore installation. Although no injuries were sustained as a result of this incident, two ABs working on the main deck at this time could potentially have been crushed resulting in 2 fatalities.

At the time of the incident, the PSV was starboard side alongside the installation back loading the second section of a crane boom.

This back loaded crane boom section was first landed on deck with no clearance from adjacent tote tanks. However, the ABs had to pass between these tote tanks and the back loaded crane boom section to access the crane hook for unlatching.

Therefore, the crane operator was asked to move the back loaded crane boom section towards the port side of the main deck to create a gap to allow the ABs clear access.

The crane operator moved the back loaded crane boom section 1-2 meters to port and asked the bridge whether the new position was satisfactory. The Bridge then confirmed with the ABs on deck that this new position was acceptable for them and then advised the crane operator accordingly.

The crane wire was then slackened down and the ABs started to pass between the back loaded crane boom section and the nearby tote tanks to unlatch the crane hook.

The crane operator then started to heave and raised the back loaded crane boom section by about 1 metre to approximately waist height with the ABs positioned between this back loaded crane boom section and the tote tanks. This resulted in a potential for the ABs to be crushed between the back loaded crane boom section and the tote tanks.

The bridge shouted a warning on the UHF radio to the ABs who were already aware of the hazardous situation and were moving to a safe position. The crane operator also then lowered the back loaded crane boom section to deck.

The prevailing weather conditions at the time of the incident were within acceptable working limits, consisting of a wind speed of 19 knots and sea conditions with a significant wave height of between 1.5 and 2.0 meters.

Main Findings and Recommendations:
The crane operator lifted the back loaded crane boom section off the vessel’s deck but failed to effectively communicate his intention to the vessel personnel. The crane operator also assumed that the vessel’s deck was clear of personnel.
The investigation of this incident identified the need to instruct crane operators to:-

• communicate their actions to the vessel before proceeding with lifting operations

• ensure that all communications are fully understood and verified by all relevant installation and vessel personnel before proceeding with any lifting operation

• avoid making assumptions and to verify with the vessel that the deck area is clear of all personnel before proceeding with lifting operations.”

Download the safety alert here

Or read online here:

Mar 112008

MAIB has published it’s preliminary investigation into a close call between the QE2 and the Pride Of Kent:

At 2200 UTC on 15 December 2007 in light winds and good visibility a close quarters situation occurred between Queen Elizabeth 2 and Pride of Kent.

Queen Elizabeth 2, on passage from Zeebrugge to Southampton, was south west bound in the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. Her track was biased to the starboard side of the traffic lane. Pride of Kent departed Dover for a scheduled voyage to Calais, observing the voluntary separation scheme established for ferry operators. As the vessels approached, a close quarters situation developed in which Queen Elizabeth 2 was required to give way.

When it became apparent that no avoiding action was being taken by Queen Elizabeth 2, Pride of Kent reduced her speed allowing Queen Elizabeth 2 to pass 0.6mile ahead of Pride of Kent.

There were no injuries to personnel and no pollution.

Action taken:

Following the accident, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has considered the actions taken by both the companies and is satisfied with the steps they have taken to prevent future accidents.

Cunard Line will:

  • Send a letter to the fleet that describes the incident, identifies lessons learnt and provides actions to prevent future recurrence.
  • Provide further development of company specific Bridge Resource Management training.
  • Implement their recently rewritten, and currently trialled, Bridge Resource Management Procedures.

P&O Ferries will:

  • Carry out an internal investigation that will result in a review of bridge procedures throughout the fleet and identify actions to avoid similar situations in the future.