IMCA informs of a near-miss incident, where a ladder’s weight had not been tested, meaning that it could have failed while it was being climbed.
While undertaking pilot boarding operations during the hours of darkness, a side rope on the pilot ladder parted when it was weight tested by the pilot.
The pilot was not injured; however, if the ladder had not been weight tested by the pilot, it could have failed while it was being climbed, resulting in a fall from a height into the sea.
The pilot boarding operation was aborted and the vessel was directed by the authorities to anchor, resulting in significant operational and commercial delays.
- The pilot ladder had not gone through a 30-month strength test because the requirement to do so had not been uploaded into the vessel’s planned maintenance system;
- It was known that the pilot ladder was in poor condition, but it was decided to continue to use the ladder beyond its operational life knowing that the vessel would soon be decommissioned;
- The vessel did not carry a spare/second ladder.
- A Pilot ladder is essential safety equipment and should always be serviceable/available for use;
- Safety critical equipment should be inspected before use and any deficiencies found should be reported and rectified;
- The defective pilot ladder was replaced with a new ladder;
- Carry a minimum of two pilot ladders and replace them every two years;
- Ensure vessel planned maintenance systems are up to date and include everything that should be included.
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