Skip to content

Man overboard: personnel transfers by swing rope and personnel basket

The United States’ Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has published Safety Alert 331 on personnel transfers using swing rope and personnel basket. It relates to a swing rope transfer in the Gulf of Mexico between a platform and a boat, when a person fell into the sea. The person was recovered swiftly by a small boat but was injured and subsequently diagnosed with a torn ligament in his elbow requiring surgery.

BSEE subsequently revisited incident data to determine the frequency of personnel transfer incidents in 2017. The safety alert covers a number of recent incidents

What actions were taken? What lessons were learned?

Due to the frequency of personnel transfer events noted, and their potential consequences, BSEE made recommendations which are summarised thus:

  • Review the BSEE safety alert with all personnel who transfer to facilities via swing rope or personnel baskets;
  • Before personnel transfer, inspect and test all hardware associated with the operation and report any deficiencies found;
  • Stress the significance of patience, weather and sea conditions, and the use of the ‘stop work authority’;
  • Consider developing fitness for duty requirements for personnel involved in transfers.

Safety Alert 331 can be found on the BSSE website.

Members may wish to refer to Guidance on the transfer of personnel to and from offshore vessels and structures

Members may also wish to refer to the following similar incidents:

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.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

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.