2011X14 Lifeboat Release Hook Accident

18 Dec 2011 MARS

Lifeboat Release Hook Accident
UK MAIB Official Report 2003

The following Interim Report was issued by the UK MAIB into an accident on a the vessel GULSA ANNA during a Port State Inspection.
Two seamen were tasked with freeing up and greasing the releasing hooks on the starboard lifeboat while it was in the water. These had been found seized up the day before, during the Port State Inspection. Both seamen wore lifejackets and hard hats. They freed and greased the forward hook but found the aft hook operating rod sheared. Therefore, after the latter had been freed up and greased, the seamen used lashing to secure the hook in the closed position, ready to hoist.

The Chief Engineer and Chief Officer were then called to inspect the operation of the hooks. The Bosun raised the lifeboat to the embarkation level with the seamen aboard. The boat was left suspended by the falls. The Chief Officer joined the seamen on the boat to inspect the work. He was wearing working gear and a hard hat, but no lifejacket. Shortly after he boarded, the forward hook released suddenly and, without warning, the forward end of the boat dropped, leaving it suspended vertically from the aft fall. The two seamen and the Chief Officer were thrown into the water. The two seamen were able to pull the unconscious chief officer to the surface and keep him afloat until all three were picked up by the pilot launch. The launch delivered them to the dock police and an ambulance ashore. The release mechanism of the forward hook was poorly maintained, the locking pin was missing and the crew had little information or understanding of its operation.

Recommendations are made to the operating company to ensure that all safety and maintenance manuals are accurate and in the working language of the crew. It is also recommended that a system of formal risk assessments be introduced aboard the company's vessels, along with training where necessary.

The Classification Society is recommended to follow the ISM Code and IACS Recommendation 71 regarding the development of shipboard technical manuals.

Recommendations to the owner of the vessel:

Ensure, through appropriate procedures in its company safety management system, that all the essential documentation on board is in the working language of the crew.
Introduce a formal risk assessment procedure on board all vessels it operates, through the inclusion of such procedures in the company and vessel safety management system.
Introduce procedures, through inclusion in the company and vessel safety management systems, ensuring that individuals working on any job have sufficient knowledge, experience, and training to complete the work safely.
Follow the guidance in IACS Recommendation 71 "Guide for Development of Shipboard Technical Manuals".