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Fatality during transfer of pipes

What happened

A member passes information to IMCA relating to a recent fatality on a ship alongside. The incident occurred during the transfer of pipework between the quay and vessel.

The incident is still under investigation by the local authorities. This flash serves to raise awareness, as lifting operations are a regular occurrence in offshore operations along with mobilisation and demobilisation and there is the potential for similar incidents to occur on IMCA members’ vessels.


  • Lifting operations:
    • Never exceed safe working load (SWL) during lifting operations;
    • Never walk under a suspended load (see Step Change video linked below);
    • Identify all entrapment and crush areas;
    • Be aware of sudden load movement and loads swinging;
    • Ensure effective barriers are in place to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Objects with roll or fall potential:
    • Secure all loads that have the potential to roll before lifting, loading, unloading or transporting;
    • Pay close attention when moving loads with all forms of transport;
    • What will you do if the load shifts? Stay out of the line of fire;
    • Secure objects that can roll such as tools, cylinders and poles.
  • Dropped object cone of exposure (drop zones):

A controlled ‘drop zone’ should be half the height of the potential drop where possible with the area increased if potential exists for the falling object to be deflected by an obstacle, structure, wind and weather conditions.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 29 August 2023
Download: IMCA SF 21/23

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.