Steamship informs about an incident involving a fatal slip and crush in the engine room. Analyzing the incidents, Steamship Mutual offers lessons learned from it.
n 08 October 2018 a container vessel was on a short voyage from Kodiak, Alaska to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, manned by 23 crew members.
Heavy weather was experienced by the vessel, noticed to intensify throughout the day. SouthEasterly winds Beaufort Force (BF) 6 at 0400 (LT) subsequently reached BF 9 at noon. Air temperature was 10 °C, while the atmospheric pressure had dropped steadily, from 1008 mb at midnight to 1000 mb at 0900 (LT).
At around 0900 (LT), a heavy weather checklist was filled, and all works were suspended.
By noon, the wind was blowing steadily from Southeast and had reached BF 9. The vessel was on a course of 278° (T), with sea and swell from her port quarter, causing her to roll 30° to 35°.
At 1225, as the vessel started her passage through the Unimak Pass, the second engineer (2/E), who was on duty, heard a very loud noise coming from the engine-room. Upon inspection, 2/E found that a spare auxiliary blower, amongst other items, had broken from its lashing and was moving freely on deck.
At 1235 following discussion, the master and several of the ships staff proceeded to the engine-room. It was
discovered that the free, spare auxiliary blower had ruptured the stern-tube gravity tank, from where oil had spilled making the deck slippery. Furthermore, it was noticed that several items had also broken loose from their securing arrangements and were moving freely around the deck creating obstacles for the crew.
The officers and the crew set about to securing the items and controlling the situation.
The spare auxiliary blower was secured to the sterntube gravity tank, however, shortly thereafter, due to the violent movements it again broke free.
The C/E ordered the engine-room crew to move out of the danger area and the master started to make his way to the bridge. The rolling motion now caused the blowers to move across the deck and towards the engine-room
Both the fitter and the oiler slipped while trying to leave the area, the oiler being pulled clear by the 2/E who also
slipped in the process.
The reefer technician pulled both, the 2/E and the oiler, to safety, however, the fitter, who was furthest from anyone’s reach, was crushed between the bulkhead and one of the blowers. As a result of being crushed the fitter
sustained multiple injuries and succumbed to his injuries.
The investigation results appear to indicate:
- Immediate cause of the accident was failure of the lashings securing spare equipment.
- Weather reports received did not give cues of the inclement weather developing in the vessels path.
- Having identified the developing situation the master ordered all works suspended and that heavy weather precautions be taken.
- Dunnage was not placed below the blowers to prevent them from sliding.
- The vessel suffered excessive angular velocity due to a high GM, causing violent rolling motions and excessive acceleration stresses on lashings.
- Stability of the vessel could not be further improved.
- SMS did not seem to address the engine-room space and the need to recheck and/or re-tighten items that were already lashed.
- Safe Working Loads of the lashings were not known and possibly not appropriate for securing the blowers.
- Vessel exposed to stern quartering seas and violent motions quickly developed being indicative that the vessel might have experienced parametric rolling.
- The crew appear to have acted in the belief that it was important to intervene as quickly as possible for fear that the moving blowers could fall onto the decks below, causing further damage.
- Alteration of course not an available option, this would have placed the vessel closer to danger of grounding and could have resulted in even more violent motions.
- Shelter as an option would only have been available about three to four hours after the accident.