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Web Alert: Constant vigilance is the key to safe sailing

13 September 2018

In its latest video, sponsored by The Standard Club, the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) investigates three recent reports that highlight hazards onboard ships. In each case, a serious incident was avoided by someone raising the issue and resolving it before it was too late.

The first report is from a cruise ship passenger who was dissatisfied with the shipboard emergency evacuation plans, highlighting that they did not appropriately cater for her disabled husband, a wheelchair user. The video raises some important issues about adapting shipboard emergency measures for disabled passengers. CHIRP welcomes practical suggestions from viewers and has some of its own. The most important of these is for a ship’s representative to have an individual discussion with the passenger concerned to cover all emergency issues and tailor plans accordingly.

The second report demonstrates that sometimes tenacity is required to improve safety for the benefit of all. A pilot had noticed an issue with the accuracy of the steering gear on a particular ship. Upon attending the same ship on a different occasion, he investigated whether the reported issue had been fixed. Standard testing of the rudder gear revealed nothing, but based on good seamanship and intuition he investigated further and discovered there was an issue with the rudder system construction. The class report later revealed a litany of failings – a hazard waiting to happen.

A botched job is the enemy of safety. The third report covers an aluminium ladder which had been adapted and extended in a very haphazard way, making it completely unsafe to use. The video report makes it clear that ladders should never be modified like this.

In each of these cases, an individual has chosen to raise and report on issues that may have caused an incident in the future. Reports can be submitted confidentially at


The bulletin is available on YouTube here. Read more on the other bulletins in the series here.