Oct 282009


Gibraltar’s Maritime Administration has criticised the lack of safety culture aboard a general cargo ship, BBC Atlantic following the death of a chief officer in October 2008. The officer had been standing atop a hatch cover being lifted by equipment not made for the job when t-hooks released, dropping the officer into the hold followed by the hatch itself. The officer did not survive his injuries.

The unsafe practices continued after an earlier, similar, incident. A variety of such incidents continue to occur through the industry as officers and crew continue to ignore safety warnings and good practice.

image Says the report: “The C/O was standing on the hatch cover and giving direction to the AB who was operating the controls for the cargo crane, following an order to hoist and move the hatch cover aft the T hooks at the aft most side of the hatch cover were seen to release, quickly followed by the T hooks at the forward side. The C/O and the hatch cover then fell to the bottom of the cargo hold with the C/O sustaining fatal injuries.

“The tween deck hatch covers were being moved using the forward cargo crane with four wire slings attached via T hooks to four lifting points on the top of the hatch cover, the wire slings then being attached to the central hook of the cargo crane.

image“It is considered from the events of the accident that the safety culture onboard
the vessel was deficient in respect to the evaluation and perception of risk… The use of the cargo crane instead of the dedicated hatch cover gantry crane changed the lifting arrangement without an assessment on the implications with regard to load transfer and attachment of the crane to the hatch cover.

“The stacking of the tween deck hatch covers at the forward end of the cargo hold at the tween deck level contrary to the manufacturers recommendation required the crew to walk onto the hatch cover without a realisation of the existence of a dangerous edge with a potential fall to the hold bottom.

”The risks associated with a lack of effective locking of the lifting attachments
to the hatch cover, were not realised or examined.

“The risks inherent in the crew remaining on the hatch cover during the lifting
operation were not identified.

“It was apparent that lifting operations onboard the BBC Atlantic were not being
appropriately planned and carried out in a safe manner. Furthermore the response
of the company in ensuring that all lifting operations were appropriately planned
and carried out in a safe manner following the issue of the Improvement Notice
following the earlier fatality involving the movement of tween deck hatch covers on
another vessel was judged inadequate in ensuring the safety of lifting operations
onboard the BBC Atlantic.

Download Full report

  2 Responses to “Accident Report: BBC Atlantic – Poor Safety Culture Kills CO”

  1. What was the officer doing standing on the hatch?
    We each hold the ultimate responsibility for our own safety offshore.

    • To widen this a little, officers have an additional responsibility to work safely because what they do, not just what they say, influences the work practices of those whom they command. It is not nough for an officer to talk safely, he, or she, must also work safely. Two examples come to might: The Case pf the Silent Assassin in which a pumpman adopted the unsafe practices of superior officers and another more recent case in which a senior officer who appeared to be a ‘safety martinet’ died because he didn’t follow his own rules.

      Do bear in mind cultural issues: in western cultures individual responsibility is encouraged but in others, especially Asian, it is not. This increases the need for officers to carry out their own work according to the correct procedures, even if they think they’re smarter than the procedures.

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