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Blocked emergency exit hatch

What happened

An engine room emergency exit hatch could not be opened. The emergency exit hatch providing egress from the engine room to the vessel’s main deck on the starboard side at the stern, was found blocked during the Master’s routine inspection/walkaround.  The hatch could not be opened from the engine room compartment. 

Emergency exit hatch blocked by wire ropes

What went wrong

It was discovered that the hatch was blocked by wire ropes left on top of it during recent spooling works on the main deck area. These activities had been observed on deck, as part of anchor handling preparation process conducted by a contractor party. The used wires left on top of emergency hatch was not noticed by the deck crew.

What went right

This serious issue was swiftly discovered and corrected following a regular “safety walkaround”.

Lessons learned

  • Keep emergency escape routes free of obstructions and in a safe condition at all times;
  • Better control of third-party activities onboard;
  • Hold regular “cold eyes” or cross-departmental reviews and safety walkarounds. You may be surprised at what the cook will discover on a walk round the back deck, or what the third engineer will spot on a visit to the bridge wing;
  • Imagine yourself in the position of the person who might be trapped by that stuck hatch. What can YOU do to make sure that never happens?

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 11 January 2023
Download: IMCA SF 02/23

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