When a Hong Kong-registered oil carrier was sailing, a motorman fell overboard from the shipside while setting up razor wire coils and went missing. Hong Kong MARDEP shared lessons learned from the accident.
While the ship was en route from Gresik, Indonesia to Singapore, a working team including the motorman was tasked to set up the razor wire coils around the periphery of the main deck to prevent pirates from gaining access to the vessel during its voyage.
When the motorman climbed over the shipside guardrail to rig and secure the razor wire coils at the aft part of the starboard accommodation ladder, he suddenly fell into the water and disappeared without a trace.
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After 14 hours of search and rescue operation conducted by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of Indonesia in coordination with other ships nearby, the motorman was still missing.
The investigation identified the following contributory factors:
- lack of supervision of the working team to ensure lifejackets be donned, and to monitor the securing of the motorman working overside according to the company safety procedures; and
- the motorman had insufficient safety awareness as he did not follow the safety procedures and requirements that required wearing lifejacket and safety belt and securing himself to a safe point.
The investigation also revealed the following safety issues:
- the shipboard search and rescue operation was not prepared in advance according to the company safety procedures; and
- the man overboard training and drills onboard were considered ineffective.
In order to avoid recurrence of similar accidents in the future, masters, officers, and crew of vessels should:
- strictly follow company procedures and enhance job supervision while working over the shipside;
- enhance man overboard training and drills onboard; and
- arrange for relevant safety training in order to enhance the crew’s personal safety awareness of using proper personal protective equipment such as a lifejacket and safety harness.