200849 Fatal accident when operating ramp

05 Jul 2008 MARS

Source: SKULD Loss Prevention; 27 January 2005, Issue 03

During the operation of a hinged internal ramp onboard a ro-ro ship in port, it accidentally swung down on to the deck below and fatally injured a deck cadet.

Probable causes

Rubber seal temporarily catching on fixed ramp section during lowering and then suddenly disengaging;
Dislocation of hydraulic actuators causing the free end of the ramp to fall down on to cadet standing underneath (see Figures 1–3).


200849-1 Figure 1: Arrangement of hinged internal ramp



200849-2 Figure 2: The rubber seal temporarily caught on the fixed section while the actuators continued to retract, causing them to come out of their location



200849-3 Figure 3: The rubber seal suddenly disengaged from the fixed section and swung down, resulting in fatal injuries to the cadet standing underneath.


Result of investigations

The chief officer (CO) and the deck cadet had just lowered an adjacent ramp. The CO, standing at the operating control console, did not have a full view of the ramp, but could see the cadet. The two manoeuvring actuators (ramp legs) were lowered down and placed in the location sockets on the deck below and the cadet confirmed that the ramp was ready for lowering.
The CO started lowering the ramp. It was down about 10 cm when the rubber seal probably caught on the fixed ramp section. The manoeuvring actuators continued to retract and came out of their location sockets, leaving the ramp hanging on the rubber seal only (Figure 2).
Then suddenly, the rubber seal disengaged from the fixed ramp section causing the hinged ramp to swing down on to the cadet (Figure 3).

Lessons learnt

Operating ramps on ro-ro ships form one of many operations of mechanical equipment and systems on board that pose hazards. These hazards should be systematically identified and control measures taken, including evaluation of the equipment, operating procedures and training for use of the equipment as required in the ISM Code.
Never stand underneath ramps when they are operated or unsecured.
To avoid similar accidents ensure:
• Correct sequence of operation in order to reduce the possibility of rubber seals catching and to avoid any obstruction to the operators view.
• The operator should check that all personnel are clear of the ramp before any operation.
• All personnel, especially those new to the vessel, must be thoroughly trained in ramp operations.