Sep 242011

Inattention, time pressure  and inadequate routines let to injury of a chief officer when he was hit but a reversing trailer says an accident investigation report from the Swedish Transport Agency.

The ro-ro passenger ship Skåne carried both passengers and ro-ro cargo between
Trelleborg and Rostock two to three times daily. According to the timetable each port
stay was approximately one and a half hour. This made cargo operations intense in order
to finish in time.

In Trelleborg, the cargo was unloaded through two openings in the stern of the vessel, one
on deck 3 and one on deck 5, connected to ramps on the quayside.

On 25 May 2011 at 21.00, the vessel berthed at quay berth 9 in the port of Trelleborg Shortly after arrival the passengers disembarked and the unloading of the cargo, consisting of cars, trucks and trailers, commenced.

The chief officer who was in charge of the cargo handling was standing on the ramp at deck three preparing for the loading. At the same time the last trailer was about to be unloaded with a terminal tractor (tug master). At 21.15 the trailer was reversed out from the ship and onto the ramp.
When reversing, the driver of the terminal tractor did not have a view over the area behind the trailer. Therefore the driver stopped and when he saw that the chief officer waved at him to continue he backed out on the ramp.

Suddenly a person from ashore rushed towards the terminal tractor and waved to the driver to stop.

As the driver stopped and stepped out of the vehicle he saw the chief officer lying on the ground face down between the back wheels of the terminal tractor. He immediately called for help and the rescue service was alerted.

The chief officer had been hit by the back of the trailer, fell between its wheels and then had been dragged along the ground by the terminal tractor for approximately ten meters.

As a result he sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.

The investigation showed that the factors leading to the accident were:

  • Both ship and port routines were inadequate.
  • The coordination of routines between the ship and port was inadequate.
  • The regulation for reversing vehicles was not followed.
  • The chief officer did not pay attention to the trailer.
  • The prevailing work load and speed during cargo operations has contributed to increased risk-taking.
  • A number of recommendations have therefore been issued to the shipping company and the port.

Download report

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