On August 20, 2013 - Port of Townsville

The ATSB has issued report regarding a serious injury onbaord container ship Mell Selarang. On 19 August 2013, the 175 m container ship Mell Selarang berthed atnumber three berth (AUTSV 3) in the Port of Townsville, Queensland. Shortly after, thestevedores started cargo operation


Image Credit: ATSB Transport Safety Report 302-MO-2013-009

Cargo operations continued into 20 August and, at about 0752, the stevedores stopped work for achange of shift. In the quiet period between the two shifts, one of the ship's seamen decided togrease the hatch landing pads around the open cargo hold. The chief mate and theboatswain (bosun) were not advised of the work and permission had not been obtained.

At about 0820, the new shift of stevedores boarded the ship and began to make their way into thecargo hold. At this time, the seaman was moving around the hatch coaming greasing the hatch lidlanding pads when he slipped and fell, landing about 8.5 m below on the top of a container in thecargo hold .

One of the stevedores in the cargo hold heard the seaman land on a container and then moan.The stevedore looked up and could see the seaman half on, half off a container. He called out toanother stevedore, who was still on the main deck, to raise the alarm and then went to assist theseaman. The stevedore on deck notified the terminal management and they initiated the terminal'semergency response plan

At about 0823, the ship's crew were alerted and shortly after, the ship's first aid party arrived at thescene. They noted that the seaman was wearing work shoes, overalls and a hard hat was lyingclose by. He was not wearing a safety harness.At about 0845, an ambulance arrived on the wharf. The paramedics were taken on board the shipto assess the seaman's condition. At about 0910, he was lifted ashore by crane and transferred tothe ambulance. At about 0918, the ambulance departed the wharf.

The seaman was taken to the local hospital where he was admitted and provided with medicalattention. On 26 August, he was discharged from the hospital and repatriated home.

The ATSBhas been advised of the following proactive safety action in response to this occurrence

Safety Actions

  • Upgrading its training matrix (JW-64), to include a series of accident prevention, riskassessment and accident investigation courses that will be completed by all crew ratherthan just the officers. Cross referencing to the VOD/Seagull training courses andreferences to the STCW / Syllabus have also been added.
  • Revising the wording in its safety familiarisation checklist (JW-175) to include safetyharnesses under the section 'PPE' (personal protective equipment). A tick off section willalso be included in the 'Welcome On Board Instructions' to cover this information.
  • Revising/adding more clarity and instruction to its 'Welcome On Board Instructions'. Tickoff boxes have also been included in sections 03 (Familiarisation), 14 (PPE), 16 (Permit toWork) to highlight the importance of the information that is needed to be passed on duringthe induction process
This incident highlights the fact that seemingly simple tasks that are undertaken with the best ofintentions often have the planning and risk assessment stages inadvertently overlooked. This isparticularly the case when the task is undertaken when an unexpected and opportune momentarises to complete the task.

For more information, please read ATSB report here