A clean and unobstructed deck is a safe deck. The Nautical Institute gives this advice in its latest Mars Report, which describes how a crew member had to be repatriated after tripping on a lanyard.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

A vessel was in the process of berthing. A crew member carrying out his work at the forward berthing station tripped over the lanyard securing the spring line’s chafing sleeve to the vessel’s railing. The victim did not think he was injured but, when trying to stand he felt severe pain at his left hip.

First aid was provided, but there was no visible injury such as bruises or hematoma. The victim felt pain only while standing on his left leg. Later that day, he was transported to the local hospital. As it transpired, the victim required surgery and extended recovery time, and was repatriated after surgery.

unobstructed deck
Solution to preventing someone tripping over the lanyard.

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Even the most minor incident can lead to serious consequences. All incidents should be investigated and opportunities for risk reduction sought.
  • A clean and unobstructed deck is a safe deck. In this case, a small lanyard left adrift on the deck was enough to cause a repatriation.

Also read: ‘Use high visibility paint markings for tripping hazards on ships’

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202159, that are part of Report Number 350. A selection of this Report was also published in SWZ|Maritime’s January 2022 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Also read: Nautical Institute: Stay out of the ‘line of fire’ when working with mooring lines