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Serious incidents involving the weather

A member has published a safety notice designed to raise awareness with the number of serious weather related incidents which have occurred within their fleet over the last few months. The aim is to highlight the following:

  • The impact of weather on vessel operations and equipment;
  • The importance of effective review of weather reports;
  • The importance of thorough dropped objects inspections;
  • Measures to prevent similar incidents.
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A number of events are mentioned, some of which have been published as part of IMCA Safety Flashes:

  • Dropped lightning conductor – dropped because of vibration and environmental conditions over some time;
  • Dropped gangway – gusts of strong and violent wind (>50 knots) caused the vessel to move off the quay;
  • Dropped objects (multiple objects from salt sack) – load was caught by 30 knot winds;
  • Failed Quayside Bollard. Minor damage to vessel hull – wind increased to 61 knots and bollard failed;
  • Dropped object – object fell during or after storm with >50 knot winds.

Our member notes:

  • Although the findings of the incidents differ, they all have one common casual factor – adverse weather and strong winds;
  • All these incidents had the potential to cause a serious injury or fatality.

What lessons were learned?

  • Effects of weather and its unpredictability were not fully understood or considered;
  • Inappropriate assessment of weather effects on tasks and operations undertaken;
  • The environment can have immediate and long-term effects on equipment, objects, securing and secondary retention.

What actions were taken?

  • The importance of in-depth weather report review and including weather in all your toolbox talk (TBT). It may introduce risks to the job or create a hazardous working environment;
  • The importance of considering the effect of weather on all your activities, equipment and potential dropped objects;
  • Continuous monitoring of the weather and immediate communication of any changes to all who may be affected;
  • Guard against complacency with routine tasks and always be vigilant;
  • Conducting thorough ‘routine drops inspections’ especially prior to severe weather and after environmental events.

Members may wish to refer to:

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.

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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.