The case

Following a non-fatal man overboard incident involving a member of a mooring gang falling off a tug, as part of the incident investigation, a thorough review was conducted to identify how crew transfer over vessel bow areas could be improved.

According to IMCA:

Immediately post-incident, removable hand rails were installed in the bow area, provided with enhanced grip points for transferring personnel.

In fact, it was identified that still further improvement could be made in this area. As well as the physical enhancements, customised HSE refresher training was provided to the personnel on:

  • the importance of ‘three-point contact’ whilst transferring
  • the use of personal floatation devices
  • the buddy system of giving your fellow team members mber behind you the required support and help during transfer.

The tug involved went to dry dock shortly after, and it was decided to remodel the bow area to provide an obstruction free bow embarkation/disembarkation platform at bulwark top height, with vastly increased landing area to the original vessel design with additional stringers and stanchions added.

Bow fendering enhancements were also made during this modification with heavy duty 500mm ‘D’ fender installed around the radius of the new platform for enhanced asset protection.

Since the photos above were taken the landing area and the step-up platform have also been coated with yellow/black hazard marking stripes.


  1. The modifications completed have provided far greater safety and security for crew during personnel transfer operations over the bow
  2. There was excellent cooperation between the technical, HSE and marine departments in working to reduce the risk
  3. The team did not settle for average and explored every possibility to increase the safety for the mooring gangs.