Aug 042011

The damaged pilot ladder

A recent incident occurred on a Platform Supply Vessel where the pilot ladder on the starboard side parted whilst the pilot was attempting to board the vessel by means of this ladder. This resulted in the pilot falling backwards approximately 2 metres onto the deck of the pilot boat where he was caught by the pilot boat deckhand.

The pilot suffered whiplash injuries and the pilot boat deckhand suffered slight injuries to his neck and lower back. However, there was a high potential that this incident could have resulted in more serious injury to the pilot and pilot boat deckhand, including the possibility of fatalities.

Whilst the PSV was underway in Aberdeen Bay proceeding at approximately 5 knots in a South Westerly direction towards the entrance to the harbour, the two on duty ABs deployed the starboard pilot ladder over the vessel’s side at a height of 1.5m above the water line.

The vessel then altered course by two points to starboard to create a lee for the pilot boat and the pilot boat came alongside the vessel’s starboard side.

The pilot then attempted to board the vessel by means of the pilot ladder but when one foot was on the bottom of the ladder and whilst attempting to place his other foot on the ladder, the ladder parted causing the pilot to fall backwards onto the pilot boat where he was caught by the pilot boat deckhand. Continue reading »

EMS Trader: Hazardous Pilot Rig Led To Fatal MOB

 Accident, Accident report, lifejacket, Man Overboard  Comments Off on EMS Trader: Hazardous Pilot Rig Led To Fatal MOB
Jan 252011

Did the pilot ladder platform drag a seafarer to death?

Working in the dark with poor lighting and a partially slippery deck near an opening in the railing harbours particular risks, especially when you’re on your own rigging what Germany’s Federal Bueau of Maritime Casualty Investigation, the BSU, refers to as “an indeed permissible but potentially hazardous pilot ladder construction” aboard the containership EMS Trader in its just-published report.

Nobody saw the victim fall, or knows the moment it happened, so the exact sequence of events that led to yet another grieving family cannot be determined with precision. It seems likely that the pilot ladder platform had not been properly hooked into place, that the victim had wrapped the cord used to lowr the platform around his hand and that the platform fell dragging him overboard.

What is quite apparent is that safety culture was inadequate.

Says the BSU summary: “At approximately 06151 on 4 November 2009, the EMS Trader, a container vessel flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, cast off from the Port of Hamburg and sailed downstream on the Elbe under pilotage. Continue reading »

Drunk Chief Engineer Refused Lifejacket, Died

 Accident, Accident report, lifejacket, Man Overboard  Comments Off on Drunk Chief Engineer Refused Lifejacket, Died
Aug 062010

Top: Martin N Bottom: OW Copenhagen

Three times a chief engineered refused a lifejacket as he attempted to transfer from a snow and ice-covered launch to the oil and chemical tanker OW Copenhagen using the pilot ladder. He boasted that he had never worn a lifejacket. He fell from the pilot ladder and drowned.

Seawater temperature was at freezing point and air temperature was about -5 °C.

His body was taken from the sea 50 minutes later.

Says the Danish Maritime Authority report: “On 1 February 2010 at approximately 1700 hours, the launch MARTIN N was engaged to transfer a chief engineer who had been on leave from shore to the oil and chemical tanker OW COPENHAGEN that was at anchor on Copenhagen roads.

Continue reading »

Think Safety When Transferring At Sea

 Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Think Safety When Transferring At Sea
Feb 052010

A transfer uysing the pilot ladder could be heading for a fall. Image: IMPA

Transferring from a smaller vessel to a bigger one is an inherently hazardous act even under the best conditions. Climbing a pilot ladder without appropriate precautions has led to the deaths and injuries of crew as well as pilots. At the same time, even rigging or adjusting a pilot ladder has resulted in loss of lives.

Denmark’s Maritime Authority, DMA, is currently investigating an incident during a transfer in the roads of Copenhagen on 1 February 2010. The crewman fell into the water and was lost. The crewmember was boarding the ship from a small transport vessel by means of the pilot ladder. The details of the accident are still unknown, but they are being examined by the Division for Investigation of Maritime Accidents.

The DMA has issued a safety advisory to clarify “some important measures to be taken when persons are being transferred at sea.

“If you observe these measures, you help ensure that the transfer is carried out in a safe and secure way. At the same time, it is important to stress that the necessary safety equipment must be in proper order and be used during the transfer.

The Danish Maritime Authority has drawn up the following list of conditions that should, as a minimum, be considered every time a person is to be transferred at sea.

Continue reading »