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USCG: Corrosion causing structural failure on accommodation ladders

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has published Safety Alert 05-21 relating to corroded turntable pins on accommodation ladders.

What happened

The USCG reported that “a recent marine casualty resulting in an injury of a crewmember onboard a foreign freight vessel brought to light a potentially dangerous situation involving the turntable pin on accommodation ladders. Currently, there are no established timelines or requirements to replace turntable pins. Without proper and periodic examination and replacement, corrosion can ultimately lead to structural failure.”

The USCG noted multiple foreign (not American) flagged vessels had accommodation ladder turntable pins in service for more than 20 years without replacement. Guidelines on the maintenance of accommodation ladders is contained within 74 SOLAS (14) II-1/3-9, MSC.1/Circ. 1331, and 74 SOLAS (14) III/20.7.2; however, none of the aforementioned references include maintenance guidelines for the turntable pins.

The USCG notes that while the turntable pin may seem like a minor component, its failure can cause significant harm to all persons utilizing the accommodation ladder. In this instance, the vessel’s crew was in the process of stowing the accommodation ladder when the turntable pin failed. As a result, a crewmember who was on the accommodation ladder at the time fell approximately 30 feet and sustained serious injuries.

Pin location on the Accommodation Ladder Turntable
Accommodation ladder connection pin with severe corrosion over the pin’s fracture surface & sidewall and on the surface of the hub.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel owners and operators:

  • Maintain the turntable pins;
  • Periodically inspect the condition of the turntable pins and replace then when necessary;
  • Revise accommodation ladder maintenance plans to include turntable pins.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 28 October 2021
Download: IMCA SF 29/21

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