202034 Sudden movement causes load to swing

12 May 2020 MARS 2020

As edited from IMO Lessons learned III-5, No 17

A general cargo vessel was loading heavy stainless steel pipe bundles with its own cranes. During this time, and unknown to crew or stevedores, the underside of the vessel’s midships fenders caught on the top of the wharf fenders. As the tide fell and the vessel’s draft increased due to loading, the forces between the two fender systems increased.

Suddenly, the ship’s fenders and the wharf fenders released from one another causing the vessel to roll.

The sudden and unforeseen release of energy and the movement of the vessel caused the suspended pipe load to swing uncontrollably in the vessel’s cargo hold. As the load swung it caught three stevedores in the hold, crushing them between the suspended load and the side wall of the vessel. Two stevedores died as a result and one was seriously injured.

Lessons learned

  • Close attention should be given to mooring lines and ship-shore interfaces at all times but especially while working cargo and when tides are present. It would not be unreasonable to undertake hourly rounds.