Skip to content

Open porthole

A member has reported the following incident which occurred onboard one of its vessels. The vessel was sailing in 6 8ft swell and 35kts wind speed, when it was noticed that one of the accommodation cabins was flooding with water. Upon opening the cabin door, it was noticed that water was entering the cabin from an open porthole.

The duty seaman immediately switched off the power supply to the accommodation cabins in order to prevent any short circuiting of the electrical system and possible fire. He also closed the porthole immediately.

The company’s basic sailing procedures require that ‘all portholes be securely closed when sailing’ irrespective of the weather conditions. This procedure was not followed.

The company has issued a reminder as follows:

Responsibility and Authority of The Vessel Master – A Reminder

The vessel master has the ultimate responsibility to ensure the safety of the vessel.

  • He is responsible for ensuring through HSE meetings, training, familiarisation etc., that all personnel (including passengers) onboard the vessel, understand the safety procedures & instructions as per SOLAS and other relevant requirements, to be followed on the vessel, and to ensure that they strictly follow all such safety instructions;
  • He has the authority to carry out regular checks/inspections to ensure that all necessary safety instructions & procedures are being followed;
  • He also has the authority to take disciplinary action as necessary, against those personnel onboard the vessel who do not follow necessary safety instructions & procedures, and put the vessel at risk.

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.