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Lost time injury (LTI): Hand severed during mooring operations

An incident has come to IMCA’s attention in which a crewman lost his right hand during mooring operations. The incident occurred when a service vessel was moving floating hoses away from an incoming tanker (a ‘routine’ procedure) using soft ‘pick up ropes’ attached to each hose. members of the deck crew and Bosun picked up and secured the first pick up rope. They had difficulty in securing the second hose. The Chief Mate (the injured party) came down from bridge and physically took over the job. He held the pick-up rope close to the ‘panama eye’ of the vessel with his arm through the eye of the rope. A sudden sea swell tightened the rope. His right hand was caught against the hard edge of the panama eye, and severed.

Elbow linked through pick up rope soft eye
Elbow linked through pick up rope soft eye
Pick-up rope (re-enactment)
Pick-up rope (re-enactment)

Investigation identified the following root causes:

  • The Chief Mate ‘stepping down’ to crew task without preparation;
  • A potential high consequence hazard was not recognised;
  • The injured person did not follow accepted practice of seamanship for handling mooring lines;
  • Others who might have challenged him and stopped the job were hindered by cultural norms regarding challenges to formal lines of authority.

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents (key words: mooring, hand):

Members are reminded to encourage personnel to look after their hands and arms. IMCA produces a range of safety promotional material on hand and arm safety, as well as a poster on mooring safety:

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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.