In its monthly safety scenario for June, the Swedish Club describes how two crew members were lost after being swept away by a large wave amid heavy weather, as lifebuoys were not in place.
he vessel was at anchor awaiting further orders when the weather started to worsen, with a wind force of 5-6, southerly winds and a south-westerly swell of about 3 metres.
The Chief Engineer was on deck and noticing that one of the mooring ropes was trailing in the water from the stern, he informed the bridge. Soon afterward, the Second Officer and three ABs, followed by the Chief Officer, came to help retrieve the rope. The Master was on the bridge and monitored the operation.
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While the crew was retrieving the mooring rope, the weather rapidly worsened bringing with it a squall. The Chief Engineer saw a large wave coming towards the vessel and immediately called to everyone to try to find something to hold onto. The wave was about 5 metres and hit the open deck, carrying the Chief Engineer and one AB into the water.
The crew could see the Chief Engineer and the AB in the water about 25 metres astern. The crew could not find any lifebuoys on the stern as they had been taken to the deck workshop to be repainted. This meant that they had to run midship to find lifebuoys but none of these had a line attached. Three lifebuoys were thrown into the water, but they did not reach the Chief Engineer or the AB.
The Master released the starboard MOB light from the bridge into the water. He broadcast a man overboard distress signal on DSC, MF/HF, VHF and Sat C. The coastguard was also informed about the incident and started to search for the lost crew members immediately.
The vessel launched its fast rescue boat, proceeding towards where the crew members were lost. The Master could see the MOB lifebuoy smoke signal in the water for about two minutes and then heavy rain and swell restricted the visibility. He now pushed the MOB button on the GPS and on the ECDIS. The Second Officer came to the bridge and started to fill out the MOB checklist. There was no sight of the two men.