The Incident

On 08 October 2018, Maersk Jaipur was sailing through heavy weather conditions, heading to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The vessel was rolling in the seaway.

At abour 0900, the crew conducted a heavy weather checklist and resulted to suspension of all works, amid the safety of the crew. After sailing through the Unimak Strait, with Southeasterly winds gusting to Beaufort Force 9, the engineer on duty informed the master and the chief engineer about loose equipment in the engine-room.

The majority of the crewmembers went to the engine room to check the situation, when they saw two spare auxiliary blowers that had broken free from their lashings and were moving freely on deck. In light of the situation, the fitter and the oiler were trying to secure the spare blowers in place, when both of them fell down.

The oiler was pulled away by the second engineer just in time; however, no one could reach the fitter, and the blower crushed him against the bulkhead, resulting in fatal injuries.

Probable Cause

Following the fatal incident, Transport Malta states that the immediate cause of the accident was the failure of the lashing securing the spare equipment.

Also, additional causes that were found are:

  1. The weather reports received did not give cues to the master of the actual inclement weather that was developing in the vessel’s intended path.
  2. Dunnage was not placed below the blowers.
  3. The blowers were secured with wires at angles of more than 60° to the horizontal. This did not provide adequate opposing force to prevent them from sliding.
  4. The SMS did not seem to address the engine-room space and the need to recheck and/or re-tighten items that are already lashed.
  5. Stability of the vessel could not be further improved.
  6. The vessel, having a large GM, had suffered from excessive angular velocity, causing violent rolling motions and excessive acceleration stresses on lashings.
  7. Safe Working Loads of the lashings were not known and, possibly not appropriate for securing the blowers.
  8. Considering the fact that the vessel was exposed to stern quartering seas and that violent motions quickly developed, is indicative that the vessel might have experienced parametric rolling.
  9. The crew were of the understanding that at the time it was important to intervene at the scene as quickly as possible for fear that the moving blowers could damage the railings, fall onto the decks below, and cause further damage.
  10. Alteration of course was not an available option to the master as this would have placed the vessel closer to danger of grounding and it also could have resulted in even more violent motions, until the vessel could settle with her head into the wind.
  11. Shelter was not an option at the time of occurrence as it would have only been available about three to four hours after the accident.

Actions taken

The Company followed a number of safety actions with the aim of preventing similar future accidents. In essence:

  • In-house training on lashings to all seafarers and office personnel conducting ship visits, and additionally for all seafarers, trainings on stowage and securing;
  • A fleet-wide check of all engine-room spares to be adequately secured;
  • Navigation in heavy weather checklist was revised to include the engine-room space, the lashing of cargo and other movable objects;
  • The shipboard SMS section on heavy weather precautions was revised to include amongst other topics: parametric rolling;
  • The development of a risk assessment library that will be included in the Shipboard SMS;
  • Create a controlled document to record condition of lashing equipment used for other objects besides containers;
  • Lessons learnt have been shared with the fleet;
  • An additional ISM internal audit was conducted;
  • Review of the Occupational Safety chapter and the Occupational Safety Training content in the Shipboard SMS;
  • A meeting with the charterer, responsible for the commercial management of the vessel was planned to discuss actions to be taken when similar situations are encountered in the future.

To explore more click on the PDF herebelow