The Hong Kong Merchant Shipping presents lessons learned from a Hong Kong registered bulk carrier, which when berthed at a port for cargo loading, its aft spring line was caught under a tyre fender.
hen a Hong Kong registered bulk carrier berthed at the port of Ilo, Peru for loading copper concentrate, an aft spring line was caught under a tyre fender on the quay, owing to rolling and swaying of the vessel caused by wind and swell. The Master stood on the fender and attempted to use a steel pipe to pry the aft spring line.
The aft spring line suddenly jerked free as the vessel moved along with the waves, hitting the Master and causing him to fall into the water. A rescue team was immediately organised on board to rescue the Master from the water. Although first aid treatment was applied to the Master, he was later declared dead by the paramedics who arrived on board.
The investigation revealed that the Master probably had inadequate safety awareness to consider a safe way to free the aft spring line.
The investigation also revealed that the crew did not carry out proper risk assessment and take preventive measures in handling mooring lines vulnerable to break by wind and swell following the vessel’s safety management system.
In order to avoid recurrence of similar accidents in the future, the masters, officers, and crew of vessels should:
- Strictly carry out risk assessment to identify potential risks, well plan key operations with all necessary safety precautionary measures;
- Follow the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers and utilize standard seamanship practices during daily mooring operation;
- Enhance the safety awareness of the risks and hazards associated with mooring operation and improve the safety culture on board.