202125 Messenger line snaps, injures crew

28 Apr 2021 MARS 2021

Messenger line snaps, injures crew

A bulk carrier was berthing, using a combination of ship’s and shore lines. The lines from shore were brought on board with the help of a long messenger line, which was placed on the warping drum to heave in. Once the shore line had been heaved onboard it was placed on the bitts. At one point, one of the deck crew wanted to slacken the messenger but unintentionally heaved the messenger line instead of slacking it. It parted and struck his legs violently. He was not standing behind the controller guards at the time, and was not looking at the winch while activating the control. Additionally, the messenger line could have been simply uncoiled manually from the warping drum without use of the winch.

Lessons learned

  • Even a 20mm messenger line can cause serious injury if it fails under tension.
  • Don’t stand in the potential ‘line of fire’ of a line under tension.
  • When operating a winch controller, stand behind the guard structure if one is fitted.
  • Concentrate on the task but keep your general situational awareness keen.