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MSF: Dropped object during cargo discharge operations

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) has published Safety Alert 21-14 relating to a dropped object during cargo discharge operations.

What happened

A cargo ship loaded with cargo for the renewables sector was being discharged using a mobile shore crane when a sea fastening bracket weighing about 3 kg fell out of a forklift pocket from a generator that was being offloaded and landed onto a trailer on the quayside.

The vessel was loaded with some 40 heavy lift items, each secured to a steel lifting frame with forklift pockets, each weighing about 80 tonnes, these had all been secured with 8 sea fastenings brackets per lift. The cargo was stowed over 3 decks and the sea fastenings were being burnt off by the ships’ crew and swept up.  During discharge of the lower tween deck a sea fastening was observed to fall from a forklift pocket. The following day another bracket was observed inside a forklift pocket.

A total of 320 brackets had been burnt off. The two missed ones could have resulted in a fatality.

What went wrong

The MSF’s correspondent noted the following:

  • Deck crew were unaware of the requirement to carry out a dropped object sweep of each lift with an emphasis on forklift pockets;
  • The lighting in the lower tween deck was poor.

The original MSF report noted that the sea fastenings were being burnt off by the ships’ crew and “diligently” swept up. Obviously not diligently enough…


  • The importance of dropped object sweeps was reiterated to the crew.
  • IMCA notes that there may be a lesson here in terms of additional vigilance when doing repetitive work. 320 sea fastenings, and two were missed.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 18 November 2021
Download: IMCA SF 31/21

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