Feb 132013
 
Open hatch - a shortcut to etertity

Open hatch – a shortcut to etertity

Walking across open hatches can be an invitation to tragedy. When the hatch cover is icy then the chances for disaster are even greater, as a new report from the UK Maritime Accident Investigation Branch makes very clear.

On 17 December 2011, an able bodied seaman (AB) fell approximately 25m into a partially open hold on the container vessel Tempanos while it was berthed in the port of Felixstowe. The AB, Jose Gonzalez, died of multiple injuries.

There were no witnesses to the accident, but the available evidence indicated that he probably slipped on a patch of ice while walking across a hatch cover that was partially covering an open hold.

The investigation found that it was occasional practice for some crew members on Tempanos to walk across hatch covers above partly open holds. Although there was clear guidance available regarding safe cargo operations on container ships, it was not always communicated to vessels calling at Felixstowe.

Tempanos’s safety management system did not contain sufficient guidance or instructions to the crew about the hazards of walking on partially open hatch covers. A recommendation has been made to the ship’s management company to
review its safe working procedures. The container terminal’s managers have also been recommended to conduct safety meetings with the crews of container vessels prior to commencing cargo work.

Says the MAIB report: “The disparity between the container terminal staff’s understanding of safe working practices and that of the vessel’s crew, illustrates the need for closer co-operation. It is accepted that the container trade relies on fast turnaround times, but achieving the necessary level of co-operation need not be an onerous burden. It was normal practice for container terminal staff to visit the vessel in order to discuss cargo work, and an additional discussion on safe working practices would not add significantly to the turnaround time. Such a discussion should focus on the behaviour expected of the crew and the demarcation of responsibilities.

Download the report

See Also

Hanjin Sydney Fatality: Fix It Before The Fall

Accident Report: BBC Atlantic – Poor Safety Culture Kills CO

Hatch Fatality – Watch Others On Your ship

When One Hand Doesn’t Know What The Other Is Doing It Could Go Down The Hatch.

 

Apr 262012
 

Inattention led to broken ribs

Gratings and grief all too often come together. A newly-released accident report from the Danish Maritime Authority on the Danish-registered chemical tanker Oraness presents an example of the genre that could have been easily avoided by roping-off a hazard.

Due to damage to a cylinder in the main engine, the cylinder head had to be removed. Two crew members, a ship’s assistant, with many years of experience under his belt, and a motorman, were assigned to make the repair in cooperation with the chief engineer. This task had been performed on the day before on another cylinder and the two crew members were familiar with the operation.

In order to lift the cylinder top it is necessary to use a portable electrical crane. The crane runs on an H-beam mounted in the ceiling of the engine room and going along the length of the engine room.

After having shackled the crane to a runner on the H-beam, the crane is positioned by dragging it in the longitudinal direction.

In order to lift a cylinder head, it is necessary to remove sufficient grating on the deck above the cylinder top. Before dismantling the cylinder top, the grating on the deck above the main engine was therefore removed. After having dismantled the cylindre top, it was ready to be lifted up.

Continue reading »

Apr 022012
 

Open holes, a hazard when mooring

‘Watch your step’ is a lesson learned by an AB at the cost of a fractured foot while assisting with mooring lines according to a safety alert from Marine Safety Forum.

Says the alert: While vessel had to move approximately 300m to new berth, AB was on quay wall assisting with mooring lines. Able Seaman let go lines and walked to new position to make ready the other mooring lines. Able Seaman fell in unmarked drain or manhole on quay wall.

Brief Description of Root Cause:

No grid over deep drain or manhole, no hazard marking around the hole. Able Seaman not familiar with the area.

Learnings and Preventative Actions:

Watch your step when walking around all areas, especially when not familiar with the area. All areas should be examined so that slips trips and falls hazards are identified prior to commencement of any operations. All hazardous areas should be clearly marked. Having identified hazards, Risk Assessments are to be carried out. Use the risk assessment in consultation with the crew

Download safety flash here

Jan 012012
 

stepback

Some accidents make one wonder whether Mr. Bean wrote the script. A recent safety alert for the Marine Safety Forum is an example. It could, of course, have been much worse, and did potentially put others in danger.

The MSF safety alert goes thusly, in its own words: “During preparation for tank cleaning onboard a PSV, one of the AB’s fell from the main deck down in starboard methanol tank. The fall height was 4,30 m. The AB was securing the area with blocking (barrier) tape and while moving backwards, he stepped into the tank. The injured person (IP) fractured his femur.

The vessel splanned start tank cleaning later that night, and the deck crew was removing the hatches from the man-holes in the cargo-rail in order to measure the content of oxygen, and ventilation of the tanks below main-deck. In total, 16 hatches were to be opened. After opening each tank, the Chief Officer measured the oxygen, and safety barriers were arranged around each tank. In
addition, a plastic grating was laid over each man-hole.

Continue reading »

Dec 072011
 

On 13 November 2010, Maersk Lancer was to depart from Esbjerg. While taking in the gangway, the lifting wire got stuck in one of the stanchions on the handrail on the gangway.

To get it loose two ship’s assistants entered the gangway and worked with the wire.
When it got loose, the handrail to the shore side fell in a sudden move into stowage position. One of the ship’s assistants lost his balance and fell off the gangway. He was not wearing a safety harness and fall arrest system. He fell approximately 5 metres to the pier.

Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board notes that the vessel departed earlier than planned and says that “Due to the earlier departure, the Injured Person and the watchkeeping ship’s assistant felt they were in a hurry and under stress… When working on the gangway, the IP normally used a safety harness and fall arrest, but he did not do so on this occasion due to stress and the problem with the lifting wire”.

That lapse under stress happened because a known problem with the gangway had not been fixed: “Due to a problem with the lifting wire getting caught on an eye of one of the stanchions
on the gangway, the IP and the ship’s assistant had to derogate from normal procedures.
The problem with the lifting wire getting stuck on an eye on a stanchion has occurred frequently on Maersk Lancer and is well known in other supply vessels in the company’s fleet using the same gangway system. The problem is usually solved without any problems”.
Download full report
See also

MV Alpha, Uncontrolled ladder descent Killed 3O

Safety Alert – Avoiding Death On The Gangway

Ever Elite MOB Fatality – Lessons From A Systemic Death

EMS Trader: Hazardous Pilot Rig Led To Fatal MOB

Badly-Made Gangway Could Have Killed

Nov 242011
 

Catwalk between main engines 3 and 4

Working on board a ship comes with some inherent risks, not all of which can be listed on a risk register or covered by a formal job safety/hazard analysis, so keep your eyes open. So says Australia’s Transport Safety Board in its investigation report into a crewmember injury aboard the passenger/ro-ro Spirit of Tasmania I on 17 September 2011.

Always take a few moments to survey your surroundings and consider the risks associated with the task you are about to carry out then take steps to minimise those risks.

In this case, the chief engineer asked an integrated rating (IR) to get the large portable ventilation fan that was stored on the second deck and take it down to the floor plates. The fan was too large to be carried, so it was usual practice to use the engine room crane to lower it through an opening in one of the second deck catwalks.

The IR had carried out this task many times before. He went up to the second deck and moved the fan, which was bolted to a trolley, around the second deck walkway to the forward end of main engines 3 and 4 (Figure 2). He then stepped down onto the catwalk in order to move two sections of the catwalk floor grating (each about 1 m x 1 m in size). He lifted one grating and slid it aft, placing it partially on top of the adjacent grating. He then moved forward and lifted a second grating and slid it forward; again placing it partially on top of an adjacent grating. This exposed an opening of about 1 m between the gratings.

The IR then climbed the three steps up from the catwalk onto the second deck walkway. He stopped for a moment, considering what to do next, and decided to go to the workshop to get a spanner so that he could unbolt the fan from the trolley before lifting it off the trolley with the engine room crane. Continue reading »

Jul 212011
 

Work at height remains work at height when it is carried out in a confined space, as a report into a fatality aboard the Vanuatu-registered bulk carrier Polska Walczaca from the Australian Transport Safety Board.  The fatality occured while the victim was intalling a repaired safety handrail on a platform 5 metres above the tank bottom of a cargo hold.

The victim did have a safety harness but was not wearing it, it was found on the platform from which he fell. He also appears not to have worn his hard hat properly, it was found without signs of impact damage some distance from the victim.

The two most obvious lessons are: wear a safety harness, wear a hardhat properly. However, there are other issues worth looking at.

The OS could only see as far as the second platform.

Continue reading »

Mar 072011
 
tsroyalty

T/S Royalty: A 14 old old cadet fell to his death

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch has recommended closer supervision and question the suitability  of the belt harness from which a 14 year-old sea cadet released himself and fell from the yards of the T/S Royalist, hitting the gunwales below and from there entering the sea. He died of from severe chest injuries.

Sadly, another crewmember had shouted at Jonathan to re-attach his belt clip to a wire jackstay but he did not do so. Continue reading »

Mar 072011
 
Tombarra

Tombarra

Contrary to some reports the tragedy aboard the Wihelmsen-operated ro-ro car carrier Tombarra in which one mariner died and three were injured on 7 February involved a fast rescue craft, FRC, rather than a lifeboat.

Lifeboats are designed for evacuation, not recovery, a concept that has proved to be dangerously limited over the past two decades, but FRCs are, or should be designed for both launch and recovery, so the tragedies that occur when they fall are especially worrying.

An investigation is underway. Local news reports refer to the breaking of a strap. Continue reading »