Checklists are like condoms: Used properly they’ll protect you against deadly hazards, if not used properly they give a false sense of security. That is, perhaps, the key lesson to be learned from the death of a chief mate aboard the New Golden Shipping-owned chemical tanker Bow De Jin in Hong Kong on 22 November 2009..
The incident also re-enforces the basic brutal truth that confined spaces kill regardless of experience, rank or age. In this case the victim was 41, had been a seafarer since 1993. He had sailed as a ship’s officer since November 1995 and first sailed as chief mate in September 2003. He joined Bow De Jin in Singapore on 26 May 2009.
Says the just-released report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau: “22 November 2009: “The ATSB investigation was unable to determine why the chief mate, who had sailed on tankers for most of his seagoing career, did not follow industry standard and specific company safety procedures before he entered the cargo tank.