Serious incidents involving the weather

A member has published a safety notice designed to raise awareness with the number of serious weather related incidents which have occurred within their fleet over the last few months. The aim is to highlight the following:

  • The impact of weather on vessel operations and equipment;
  • The importance of effective review of weather reports;
  • The importance of thorough dropped objects inspections;
  • Measures to prevent similar incidents.
Image: Wikipedia

A number of events are mentioned, some of which have been published as part of IMCA Safety Flashes:

  • Dropped lightning conductor – dropped because of vibration and environmental conditions over some time;
  • Dropped gangway – gusts of strong and violent wind (>50 knots) caused the vessel to move off the quay;
  • Dropped objects (multiple objects from salt sack) – load was caught by 30 knot winds;
  • Failed Quayside Bollard. Minor damage to vessel hull – wind increased to 61 knots and bollard failed;
  • Dropped object – object fell during or after storm with >50 knot winds.

Our member notes:

  • Although the findings of the incidents differ, they all have one common casual factor – adverse weather and strong winds;
  • All these incidents had the potential to cause a serious injury or fatality.

What lessons were learned?

  • Effects of weather and its unpredictability were not fully understood or considered;
  • Inappropriate assessment of weather effects on tasks and operations undertaken;
  • The environment can have immediate and long-term effects on equipment, objects, securing and secondary retention.

What actions were taken?

  • The importance of in-depth weather report review and including weather in all your toolbox talk (TBT). It may introduce risks to the job or create a hazardous working environment;
  • The importance of considering the effect of weather on all your activities, equipment and potential dropped objects;
  • Continuous monitoring of the weather and immediate communication of any changes to all who may be affected;
  • Guard against complacency with routine tasks and always be vigilant;
  • Conducting thorough ‘routine drops inspections’ especially prior to severe weather and after environmental events.