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Web Alert: Making life at sea safer

25 May 2017

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 five bulletins in the series here.

The first item in this video bulletin concerns the hazards of pilot boarding. The team look at a ship with an inherent design fault, meaning it is dangerous to board while underway. Specific issues are identified regarding the location of the access door and platform. Since structural and financial restrictions may prevent shipowners from being able to change the design and location of the pilot access, a number of suggestions are made to ensure the pilot transfer operation is as safe as possible, including careful planning and potential physical or procedural modifications depending on the ship’s draft. Any modifications must be inspected and certified by a classification society for safety compliance.

In the second report, a gangway had been suspended on a ship’s side in port with a lifting spreader that was made from objects found on the vessel, rather than the correct equipment. Also, the shackle attaching the wire to the gangway was not in a straight line during the lift. The practice of swinging out is often seen when a ship’s side is some way of a jetty’s hardstanding, but this threatens the integrity of the upper platform swivel. The team stress that even in an emergency, certified equipment should be used at all times, and suggest some alternatives to ensure that a safe means of access is provided.

Finally, a report was received of a seafarer painting an anchor by dangling over the side of the bow on a rope ladder, without hard hat, life jacket, harness, man ropes or life buoy. This is clearly unsafe. Whilst the shipowner can review the procedures and reinforce that they should be followed, each seafarer should remember they are responsible for their own safety and consider the implications of their actions.

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