A recent incident brought to light a potentially dangerous situation involving failure of the turntable pin on accommodation ladders. While the turntable pin may seem like a minor component, failure can cause significant harm to anyone using the accommodation ladder at the time, warns The Nautical Institute in its latest Mars Report.

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:

The vessel’s crew was stowing the accommodation ladder when the turntable pin failed. The victim, who was on the accommodation ladder at the time, fell approximately nine metres and sustained serious injuries.

Currently, there are no established timelines or requirements to replace turntable pins. Without periodic examination (and replacement if needed), corrosion can ultimately lead to structural failure.

Also read: ‘Accommodation ladder handrail installation should be handled with care’

After the incident, specific inspections were undertaken; local authorities noted that many vessels had accommodation ladder turntable pins that had been in service for more than twenty years without replacement. Notwithstanding the guidelines on the maintenance of accommodation ladders contained within 74 SOLAS (14) II-1/3-9, MSC.1/Circ. 1331, and 74 SOLAS (14) III/20.7.2, none of these references include maintenance guidelines for turntable pins.

pin failure

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Periodically inspect the condition of the turntable pins and replace when necessary.
  • Revise accommodation ladder maintenance plans to include turntable pins.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202203, that are part of Report Number 351. A selection of this Report was also published in SWZ|Maritime’s February 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: Accommodation ladder failures are rare, but pose a real risk

Picture (top) by the US Navy.