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Crew member thrown to the quay by unplanned movement of small boat

Transport Malta’s Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) has produced a report into an accident on a tugboat in harbour, which can be found here.

What happened

The tug Spinola was alongside. The cover on the rescue boat needed required replacement; two crew members from another boat were tasked with the job.

To facilitate the task, one of the crew members stepped on the unprotected outboard side of the rescue boat. At this time, he attempted to slacken the tension on the lifting slings holding the rescue boat. As soon as he operated the yellow handle, the rescue boat swung outboard, struck the crew member, and threw him onto the quay.

As a result of this occurrence he suffered from fractures to his left knee and left wrist, a broken nose  and cuts to the face.  He underwent surgery and physiotherapy and was over a week in hopsital before discharge.

Final position of rescue boat after the swing and approximate landing position of the injured person

What went wrong?

Some of the conclusions drawn can be summarised thus:

  • The crew members were not entirely familiar with the rescue boat davit operation – the davit’s slewing mechanism was activated accidentally, causing the rescue boat to swing outboard, dragging the crewman along with it;
  • A risk assessment was not considered necessary for this task, which was considered trivial or routine;
  • The injured person was working on the outboard side, where there were no guard rails fitted, nor was a safety harness or a hard hat worn.

A fuller treatment of the incident can be found here.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 20 May 2021
Download: IMCA SF 14/21

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