Not following a manufacturer’s information manual resulted in a fatal accident with a gangway on board a tanker. The Nautical Insitute discusses the incident 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:

A tanker had discharged its cargo, and crew were making ready for departure. The portable gangway, 20 metres long and weighing about 770 kg, needed to be lifted on board and secured for sea in its cradle on deck.

The gangway had four lifting pad eyes, each with a lifting wire sling attached with a shackle. Each wire sling had an eye on the lifting end. These were slipped individually onto the crane’s hook.

During the lifting operation, the gangway was controlled by three people, each with a lanyard to guide the gangway. Two were on deck and one on shore. As the lift commenced, the outboard lifting slings were in tension and the inboard slings were slack. When the gangway reached the level of the deck rail, the inboard sling wires remained slack since the inboard end of the gangway was supported by the deck rail.

As the outboard end of the portable gangway was lifted slightly above the deck rail, the tension of the outboard slings caused the gangway to swing inboard towards the vessel. This movement was enough to cause the two inboard slings to slip out of the crane hook and the end of the gangway immediately fell to the deck.

On the vessel, one of the crew members holding a control lanyard was hit by the falling gangway. Although immediately treated for his injuries, he was unresponsive. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was declared deceased.

Also read: Ignoring the gangway proves fatal for vessel visitor

Investigation findings

The investigation revealed that the information manual produced by the manufacturer of the portable gangway recommended the use of a composite lifting unit with a master link to connect the four wire rope slings to the crane hook. Had this practice been adopted, in conjunction with a spring-loaded safety latch, it is likely that this accident would have been avoided.

What should be used to secure the gangway, a composite unit with master link

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • A manufacturer’s information manual contains valuable and essential information. Neglect it at your own risk.
  • Everyday tasks may become mundane and tedious, but they can contain unperceived hazards. Always keep an eye out for dangers in plain sight.

Also read: Paris MoU finds pilot transfer arrangement defects on 100 ships

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202349 that are part of Report Number 373. A selection of the Mars Reports are also published in the SWZ|Maritime magazine. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published (in full) 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: Severe injury during routine task