Serious personal injury and uncontrolled lowering of final splice bight

An incident occurred during a cable laying operation, while in the process of slipping the final splice in 4,900 metres of water. As the cable end came off the top of the drum, the pre-form stopper began to slip along the cable until it pulled off the end. At the same time, the Bosun had moved into the cable line, from a position of safety, to clear away some tools on the deck. The end of the cable, together with fittings and the pre-form stopper hit the deck head above the cable diverter and struck the Bosun, wrapping around him and dragging him off, knocking him to the deck and over the side, seriously injuring him.

The investigation discovered that only one pre-form stopper had been present. The contractor has elected to issue instructions that two pre-form stoppers should always be applied to non-armoured cable, with equalising wire between the stoppers and a ball bearing swivel between the equalising wire and the rope.