Man overboard – fall from pilot ladder

What happened?

During boarding a vessel via pilot ladder from a service boat, an IT service technician lost his footing and fell from the second step of pilot ladder into the sea.  He was carrying a backpack with IT equipment and documents.  He was rescued with the assistance of the crew of the service boat.  First aid was rendered, and no injuries were reported.  The IT equipment carried was damaged as a result of flooding with seawater.

What went wrong?

While he was climbing the pilot ladder with his right foot on the 2nd step of the ladder and his left foot just off the service boat deck, the boat lurched backwards, causing the bottom part of the ladder to sway slightly.

This resulted in the IT service technician losing his balance and he fell into the water from a height of approximately 1.0 to 1.2 meters.  He was not wearing a lifejacket.

What actions were taken?

  • Ensure that ALL persons embarking or disembarking through the pilot ladder wear SOLAS approved lifejackets;
  • No bags, back packs or any other luggage should be carried – all luggage should be sent on-board separately;
  • Brief all crew on ‘stop work authority’ – this should have been stopped before it happened.