Fitnes Death: Single Watchkeeper in Tunnel

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Nov 082010

Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its preliminary investigation into the death of a wiper aboard the self-discharging bulker Fitnes at the beginning of October 2010. A full investigation is underway by the Germany-based Antigua & Barbuda registry, under which the vessel is flagged.

Says the MAIB PI report: “During self-discharging operations of a cargo of slag, the wiper called the cargo control room on his personal radio set to report that he was on watch in the conveyor belt tunnels, which were beneath the cargo holds. About 45 minutes later, the chief officer went down to the tunnels to make his routine rounds of the self-discharging system. When he reached the after end of the port side conveyor belt, he found the wiper’s body between the conveyor belt roller and a supporting beam. The chief officer activated the emergency conveyor belt stop system and called for help. Although the emergency services were quickly on scene, the wiper had already died of his injuries.

Action taken:

  • In accordance with Chapter 10 of the IMO Casualty Investigation Code, the Chief Inspector has written to the Antigua and Barbuda administration, which is conducting a marine safety investigation, making the following observations:
    • There were no written risk assessments on board.
    • There was no written job description for the deceased on watchkeeping in the tunnels during cargo discharge operations.
  • HJH Shipmanagement is in the process of installing enhanced guarding around exposed conveyor belt machinery and now requires two crew members to work together on tunnel watchkeeping duties.”