Tombarra Tragedy Highlights FRC Incidents

 Accident, falls, fatality, lifeboat, lifeboat accidents  Comments Off on Tombarra Tragedy Highlights FRC Incidents
Mar 072011


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 »

Jan 112011

Holland-America Line Volendam

Several months, at least, will pass before investigation into the Volendam tragedy in which a 29 year old Indonesian drowned when a cable parted in port Lyttleton, Christchurch can be completed and it would be very unwise to speculate on specifics. Nevertheless even the sparse information so far available presents lessons regarding lifeboat safety management worth learning regardless of whether they actually applied in this individual case. Continue reading »

HK Says “Open-up Dock Arms” After Death

 Accident report, falls, fatality, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on HK Says “Open-up Dock Arms” After Death
Dec 122010
Map picture

Hong Kong dockyards and terminals should carry out open-up inspections to the stress-bearing parts of dock arms every four years says the region’s Marine department following an investigation the fatality of a worker on a floating dock.

A dock arm is a lifting appliance used for conveying workers to the vicinity of hull plates of a vessel under repair to carry out grit-blasting or painting in dockyards. On the extremity of the arm, there is a rotating work platform which remains horizontal at different angles of inclination. Four-yearly inspections are required by the Code of Practice for Competent Examiners on the Examination of Lifting Appliances and Lifting Gear on Local Vessels issued by Marine Department. Continue reading »

Fatal Fall Down Stairs Darkly?

 Accident, Accident report, EPA, falls, fatality  Comments Off on Fatal Fall Down Stairs Darkly?
Dec 082010

Re-enactment - the hard hat did not save him

Brazil’s Maritime Authority has been unable to determine how a 68 year old quartermaster fell down stairs to his death aboard the MV Arlott in August this year but a number of potential causes, and potential hazards are highlighted. Among the issues are inadequately marked hazards, steeply inclined stairs and incomplete handrails.

To which might be added lack of safe practice when using stairs. Notably, the victim was wearing a hard hat.

MV Arlott had been preparing to moor at daybreak and the victim, who was waiting on the quarterdeck, was called to assist. His move required him to pass through an accessway and negotiate steep steps to the maindeck. It was dark enough for the seafarer who was follwoing the victim to use a torch. Although the victim had a torch it was not switched on at the time of the fall.The accident appears to have taken place at a time between darkness and light when it is most difficult to make accurate visual assessments.

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Nov 172010
scaffolding_fig 5

The deadly scaffold

Three key lessons arise from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation into the fall of a scaffold in a cargo hold aboard the Panama-registered bulk carrier United Treasure: Make sure all safety-critical parts of the structure are in place; ensure the the scaffold is properly secured against falling over; don’t attach fall preventers to the scaffold.

On 7 July 2009, while United Treasure was anchored off Port Kembla, New South Wales, two seamen fell about 8 metres in a cargo hold after the scaffolding on which they were working toppled over. Both men suffered compound fractures and were evacuated from the ship by helicopter and taken to hospital.

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Ever Elite MOB Fatality – Lessons From A Systemic Death

 Accident, Accident report, falls, fatality, Man Overboard  Comments Off on Ever Elite MOB Fatality – Lessons From A Systemic Death
Aug 042010

image Able Seaman Chin-Fu Huang on the Ever Elite died after falling from an accommodation ladder in uncontrolled descent in San Francisco Bay. His death was not merely the result of a failure of a key component in the accommodation ladder’s lifting mechanism but of systemic failures in the vessel’s safety system. We’ll cover the lessons of this tragedy in reverse chronological order, based on the report by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

This was the third occupational health and safety related fatality on board EMU’s eleven UK registered vessels within an 8 month period.

AB Huang was spotted about half a metre below the surface by the crew of a tug, Z5, between 10 and 15 minutes after entering the water. He was recovered on board the pilot boat Golden Gate but there were no signs of life.

He was not wearing a lifejacket. Although he had suffered blunt force trauma during his fall and may have been unconscious due to a blow or cold-shock, an appropriate lifejacket would have held his face above water preventing him from drowning.

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Pantas No.1: Fall Fatality – Compliant But Unsafe

 Accident, Accident report, falls, fatality, fishing boat,  Comments Off on Pantas No.1: Fall Fatality – Compliant But Unsafe
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. Continue reading »

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

 falls, Offshore, safety alert, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on When One Hand Doesn’t Know What The Other Is Doing It Could Go Down The Hatch.
May 112010


Although this alert from Marine Safety Forum is offshore it has much wider value. It went like this: A platform supply vessel, PSV, connected the oil-based mud hose from a drilling rig. A routine message went from the bridge to the deck to check that mud filters on the starboard and port sides were in the correct position and that there were no leaks on other manifolds.

AB1, who was new to the vessel, went to check the filters and manifolds, and went through a hatch, leaving it open. He didn’t know where AB2 was. AB2 was on the port side, walked around to the starboard side and…

Yes, fell through the hatch left open by AB1. As chance would have it, AB1 was on his way back up the ladder to close the hatch. Fortunately there were no serious injuries, except possibly for Gerard Hoffnung splitting his sides.

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Check Hydralift Davit Hydraulics

 falls, safety alert, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Check Hydralift Davit Hydraulics
Apr 232010

imageIf you have Hydralift davits for your fast rescue boat, FRC, you should check them, in particular the hydraulic ram eye at the cylinder end warns Marine Safety Forum. The safety following an incident during a man overboard, MOB, exercise. Fortunately no-one was hurt but the potential is evident.

An offshore installation called for a MOB Exercise. Crew boarded the starboard FRC and the launching operation commenced. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the davit swung out violently damaging the sponson of the FRC. Hydraulic pipes and the stowing frame were also damaged. The FRC crew managed to disembark safely.

The type of failed davit is “Hydralift”, Model: HL6D-3200-MOB & SWL: 3200 Kg. Vessel was relieved and returned immediately to port for repairs and FRC  replacement.

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