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Web Alert: Avoidable hazards can put seafarers in danger

22 August 2016

The Standard Club is working with the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) to promote safety at sea and accident prevention. CHIRP receives reports of hazardous incidents which they investigate with the ship's owner. The case studies and lessons learnt are published in their quarterly bulletin Maritime Feedback in both written and video form. These videos provide excellent material for discussion during a ship's safety committee meeting. 

Read more on the first and second bulletins in the series here

The third bulletin looks at three hazards which put seafarers in danger. 

In the first case a large car carrier, under pilotage and with a tug attached astern, was entering a lock in poor visibility, when the engine failed to operate astern. Emergency action was taken by the bridge team. 

This example underlines the importance of clear briefings and pre-arrival checks between pilot and master, including testing of procedures, well in advance. The engine on this ship had failed to start twice, which should have been highlighted. Deck officers should also be involved in the design of deck layout to raise potential issues. 

In the second example, a ship was moored on a berth which was too small and consequently its stern lines were badly deployed. A passing passenger ship caused a dangerous surge. This incident highlights many hazards, in particular:

  • the badly chosen berth 
  • the incorrect application of stern lines
  • crew standing in the dangerous snap-back zone

In the last report, a fouled anchor on a super yacht lead to a crew member engaging in an extremely hazardous operation to clear the obstruction while the yacht was underway. The seafarer put himself in danger and there did not seem to be any supervision of the operation. Health and safety awareness should be promoted on all types of vessel, and a safety culture reinforced within the company, including safe working procedures.  

The bulletin is available here

These safety bulletins rely on reports to be submitted from all sectors of the maritime industry. There is room for improvement in all shipping sectors, and CHIRP can use these reports to escalate problems to people who can make a difference, such as naval architects, classification societies and flag state authorities. Reports can be submitted at reports@chirp.co.uk.