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Near Miss – Messroom fridge fell over during rough seas

What happened

During transit through heavy seas, a fridge tore loose from the messroom wall and fell on its side. The incident occurred when the vessel was transiting out to the field and was experiencing 3-4m seas. During one large roll, a tall fridge in the messroom came away from the bulkhead after its primary securing brackets were pulled out of the bulkhead due to the motion of the vessel. The fridge swung on the last remaining fixing before falling on its side.

Although there were personnel in the messroom at the time there were no injuries reported and the potential for injury was unlikely. Minor damage was sustained to the fridge.

The fridge was secured to the deck with cargo straps and later returned to the upright position, inspected by the ships electrician and secured to the bulkhead with alternative suitable fixings.

What went wrong

  • Inadequate primary fixings used to secure fridge to bulkhead;
  • The strength of the bulkhead construction (a stud wall) not taken into consideration;
  • No-one took into consideration, the potential failure of fixings during rough seas.


  • Could this happen on your vessel?
    • Identify and inspect heavy objects in the accommodation areas e.g. galley, gym, etc to ensure that the securing is robust enough to withstand rough seas;
  • When securing items consideration should also be given to what these fixings are secured to, in this example the hollow stud wall was not considered when securing the fridge. The fixings are no stronger than what they fixed to!!
  • Suitable fixings for hollow/cavity walls should be utilised for fixing equipment e.g. hollow wall anchors.

Members may wish to refer to:

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