Fatal accident while operating winch

Casualty Circular No. 5 of 2003


No. 11-NT(30)/2001                                                                        Dated; 1st Sept. 2003


Sub: Fatal accident while operating winch


1. Narration :

1.1 A bulk carrier of 156-48 GT, registered in Panama and built in the year 1972 was anchored off Bhavnagar / Alange anchorage and awaiting instruction for her final beaching.

1.2 The Romanian crew of the vessel was being replaced by the "beaching Crew" consisting of locals. During the on-going operation of lifting gas oil drums on the deck with the help of ship's gear, the winch man on the port side fouled his leg with one of the guy ropes and consequently got warped with the winch drum and lost his life.

2. Cause of Causality :

2.1 The "beaching crew" who had joined the vessel were unfamiliar with the cargo gear and its operation. It was revealed during the enquiry that the operation of transferring of gas oil drums was not supervised by a responsible officer. Further, the crew members of beaching team were not regular and experienced seamen. A language barrier also existed between the regular Romanian crew of the vessel and the "beaching crew" .

3. Lessons Learnt :

3.1 Ships arriving at Bhavnagar / Alang for the purpose of scraping are in a neglected state in so far as their machinery, auxiliaries and other cargo gear are concerned. Crew changes which take place are for the benefit of buyer and / or seller. Due to paucity of time, the new crew members do not familiarize themselves with the equipments and causalities take place due to following reasons:

i. Unsafe working procedures
ii. Un-familiarization of work place and equipments.
iii. Disorderedly conduct of the operation

3.2 Ship Owners, Manger, Operators, Agents and Ship master are advised to establish safety procedures and instruct the crew to carry out all ship board operations with due caution and diligence.

3.3 Beaching crew should be thoroughly screened and briefed before boarding such vessels and their bonofides verified.

4. This issues with the approval of the Nautical Adviser to the Govt. of India.

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