Skip to content

Vessel gangway rolled off platform tower and fell to the quayside in high wind

What happened?

During stormy weather, there were sudden and violent gusts of wind of greater than 50 knots, resulting in a vessel alongside being pushed off the quay. This resulted in the gangway rolling off the platform tower and falling approximately 5.2m to the quay. The vessel’s side of the gangway remained attached to the vessel. There was no-one nearby at the time; no-one was harmed; however, the incident had the potential to cause fatal injury.

The incident occurred when a vessel was in port for maintenance. A shipyard’s gangway was attached to the vessel’s deck and placed on top of a stairway tower platform on the quayside. The gangway was only fixed at the vessel side and could move via rollers on the platform side. The platform was used to assist with tidal height variation.

Investigation noted the following:

  • The potential risk of a falling gangway was not considered or recognised. There was no previous history of issues or incidents with this setup, the task was considered as a low risk routine duty by the shipyard (IMCA bold);
  • During sudden, violent gusts of wind, the mooring ropes stretched allowing the vessel to move away from Yokohama fenders and quay. Mooring ropes worked as designed;
  • In response to the available weather forecast, precautions where put in place, including additional mooring lines, additional manpower to monitor mooring lines and gangway watchman closely observing gangway movements;
  • The was no consideration for safety in design. The positioning of the stairs in front of the platform forced personnel to pass underneath the gangway which can be classified as supported load;
  • The incident had the potential to cause a fatal injury.
Vessel moves away from the quay, pushed by sudden and violent gust of wind
Gangway moves with the vessel and falls off the platform tower

What actions were taken?

  • Damaged gangway was removed, and alternative gangway fitted to a lower deck direct to the quayside;
  • Ensure weather reports are reviewed with regard to operations that involve equipment which does not belong to vessel;
  • Could this happen on your vessel? Ensure that risk assessments suitably address concerns related to safe access and egress to your vessel.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 28 April 2020
Download: IMCA SF 14/20

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

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.