Belgium’s FEBIMA issued an investigation report on the fatality of a crew member onboard the general cargo ship ATLANTIC PROJECT II while in the Port of Antwerp in February 2021. The investigation stressed that the contingency plan on crane lifting operations was not fully implemented.
On February 8th, 2021, stevedores were unloading the MV ATLANTIC PROJECT II while moored at the Port of Antwerp. When tween-deck cargo hold N°3 on PS was empty, the tween-deck pontoons had to be removed by the ship’s crew, using ship’s gear, to allow access to the cargo stowed below.
After the first pontoon was hoisted and moved using the ship’s crane to its stacking position at the aft part of the cargo hold, a crew member was hit by the lifted pontoon. The injured crew member did not survive the impact.
The accident happened because the overview over the path of the hoisted pontoon was lost from the moment the pontoon was lifted from its initial position,
…the investigation report reads.
Since there was no overview over the path of the hoisted pontoon, it was not observed that a crew member had entered the danger zone between the bulkhead and the hoisted pontoon.
A trained and informed crew member involved in the hoisting operation had moved into the zone where the lifting operation took place without previously having stopped the operation, a clear indication that the contingency plan was not fully implemented and thus contributing to the accident.
No control measures were in place to verify if the stacking position was free of obstructions, such as cargo debris, before commencing the hoisting operation. Absence of such control measures could have led to someone entering the danger zone to rapidly remove any obstructions. Therefore, the absence of control measures therefore is to be considered as a contributing factor to the accident.
On February 18th, 2021, the company issued Fleet Marine Safety Circular N° 01/2021 with subject “Improper lifting operation of crane results in fatality”. The circular informed the fleet about the fatal accident and announced actions to be implemented.
- Corrective action 1: All vessels must mark observation areas, or signal areas, on deck. The dedicated areas should be clearly marked and highlighted. Crew must be instructed about the use of signal man positions.
- Corrective action 2: The company will issue new and explicit instructions for the organization of lifting operations and specific procedures for stacking pontoons in the hold.
- Corrective action 3: All Masters must ensure that deck crew always wear a high visibility vest on top of jackets or coveralls.
- Corrective action 4: All vessels must carry out a crew training for lifting operations with special attention to:
-Mandatory supervision of lifting operations by a Senior Officer; and
-The verification of the safe position of the team by the signalman before giving the instruction to lift.
- Corrective action 5: The company will prepare a specific risks assessment for tween-deck pontoon stacking in the hold.
- Preventive action 1: All deck personnel must obtain an official certificate for crane operator. Slingmen should be trained properly to set up the crane for specific loads and circumstances.
- Preventive action 2: Awareness posters and instructions with graphic illustrations of manual handling techniques will be posted at important locations onboard.
- Preventive action 3: The company will issue new risks assessment procedures, in correlation to the existing software tools that are installed onboard.
- Preventive action 4: All Masters, Chief Officers and Chief Engineers must pass an internal examination for the practical implementation of risks assessments.