Skip to content

Snagged load, a sling snaps, dropped objects: persons injured

The Britannia P&I Club has shared Incident Case Study No.9 relating to how two crew members on a general cargo ship were injured when a suspended load fell and struck them.

This is an important re-iteration of the ZEA Servant incident of 2 March 2019 investigated by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). This was published as part of IMCA SF 26/20.

What happened

The incident occurred during the movement of the ship’s hatch covers.  The suspended load was lifting gear – two slinging sets; each set weighing 0.6t and consisting of two 17m long, 52-millimetre (mm) diameter, wire rope legs joined together with a master link. Each wire leg had a shackle attached to an eye at the lower end. The gear was to be used to move the ship’s hatch covers.

During the lifting operation, a shackle at the lower end of the load became snagged. The supervising officer immediately instructed the crane driver to stop, but at the same time the fibre sling parted and the lifting gear fell to the deck, striking the A/Bs who were close below.  One of the A/Bs suffered a severe head injury while the other suffered a minor hand injury. Both A/Bs were transferred to hospital. 

What went wrong?

The ship’s Safety Management System (SMS) did not contain a specific risk assessment or a procedure for the stowage and handling of the lifting gear, nor any guidance for the conduct of a lifting plan and the identification of fall zones.

As there was no procedure to follow, the crew had adopted their own method of carrying out the lifting operation. The crew had used the same method on at least five previous occasions and had experienced similar snagging events. When these had occurred, the deck crew had manually freed the gear after the crane had stopped hauling.

On this occasion we focus on “snag”. 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.

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.