The Incident

The vessel was in port and the Master wanted to conduct a rescue boat drill as no drill had been completed since the vessel was delivered about a month earlier.

According to the report, the weather was favourable and the harbour authority had given the vessel clearance to launch and manoeuver the rescue boat in the harbour.

Those conducting the drill were the chief officer, bosun, oiler and third engineer. The chief officer was in charge of organising the drill. He had joined the vessel in the  shipyard about two months before delivery. During that time he had watched the shipyard complete a rescue boat drill but had not been involved himself.

Prior to beginning the drill, the chief officer had a short briefing with all available crew and the master. After the briefing the crew, which were assigned to the rescue boat, embarked. The Master informed the rescue boat crew that the safety pin should be removed before the rescue boat was waterborne.

The Swedish Club notes that the Master did not state at what precise height the pin should be removed but assumed the crew would remove it just before the boat was waterborne.

The chief officer pulled the slewing wire until the boat was positioned so it could be lowered. He then pulled the lowering wire until the boat was three meters above the surface, where he removed the safety pin. At the same time the slewing wire, which was hanging free, somehow got caught in the release lever for the hook and caused the boat to drop into the water.

The boat was quickly retrieved, and the injured crew received medical attention. The four crew members were not severely injured. Two crew
members had to be admitted to hospital. This was a fortunate outcome as there could have been fatal consequences or really serious injuries.

After the incident, a port state inspector boarded the vessel to investigate the incident, raised a couple of deficiencies and was concerned that the safety pin had been removed too early.

It is stated that the company had no specific instructions in the training manual, SMS, PMS or in any other manual on how the rescue boat should be launched.

Swedish Club highlights that

It is imperative to ensure that no wires or ropes get caught in any equipment when the rescue boat is being lowered. The company should ensure that the crew are aware of this risk and implement procedures to prevent this.

Also, it is crucial that all officers know how to launch and manoeuvre the rescue boat and not just the designated officer for an emergency. In this case
the designated officer lacked proper knowledge. The company should ensure that all officers know how to launch the rescue boat.

It is stated that:

  • Operating instructions for the rescue boat on load release hook and safety locking pin, not included in SOLAS training manual.
  • Operating instructions for control/handling of remote-control wires for slewing of davit and lowering of rescue boat, not included in SOLAS training manual.
  • Flag state and Class should be informed about incident. Which they were not.
  • Rescue boat launching instructions and rescue boat training to be reviewed.