Unsafe access for the crew on a logger
Our reporter sent photos of a vessel loading timber cargo over alternate deck hatches. The timber extended right across the width of the deck, and the crew had to either walk on the narrow tops of the bulwarks or swing outboard of the log stanchions and hang over the side of the vessel. Both methods are unsafe. The pictures show the height of the “log face.”
This is a lethal accident waiting to happen.
We have previously reported on deaths that occurred on vessels loading or unloading timber cargos on deck, as well as our thoughts on the shortcomings of the Timber Deck Cargo Code because it does not mandate safe access to be retained at or below deck level. This has safety implications for routine and emergency access (e.g., fire-fighting and med-evacing a crew from the top of the logs). And although the vessel’s design does not technically breach the Code (which presumably is why its Flag and Classification Society signed it off), the crew safety implications were not sufficiently thought through.
Whether climbing outboard in this manner is an unofficial ‘local practice’ caused by the lack of operational leadership on board or is implied by the company’s Safety Management System, it is exceptionally dangerous and must cease. CHIRP is keen to see the Canadian regulations (which mandate that proper safe accessways for the crew and stevedores) be adopted more widely.
CHIRP is keen to see the Canadian regulations (which mandate that proper safe accessways for the crew and stevedores) be adopted more widely.
Key Issues relating to this report
Local Practices – Clambering outboard to get around cargo stored on deck is never acceptable, and every seafarer should challenge this practice wherever it is encountered. Do not put your life at risk in this way.
Culture – The company’s safety culture is weak if this is the approved method to traverse the ship.
Capability – Does the shore management lack the resources to properly audit log-carrying vessels to ensure that access is safe for the crew? If your ships carry logs, how do you ensure safe access?