22 DEC 2020
A cargo vessel arrived in port to load wind turbine tower sections. The deck crew held a safety briefing prior to loading. By this time, it was dark and the vessel’s deck working lights were on, illuminating the area where the crew was working. Following the safety briefing a seaman used the vessel’s forward crane to remove the cargo hold ventilation duct space hatch cover so that the cargo hold hatch cover lifting gear could be retrieved.
Two other deck crew then entered the ventilation duct space and attached the first of two lifting gear sets to the crane’s hook using a fibre sling. Both crew then climbed out of the space and stood close to the hatch edge ready to guide the load and free any snags as it was lifted. The crane operator was instructed via VHF radio to commence lifting. After the load had been lifted about 2-3 metres, the gear snagged. The crane operator was ordered to stop lifting and the two nearby deck crew freed the snag by hand. They remained close to the edge of the hatch and the signaler ordered the crane driver to start heaving again. Shortly after the lifting operation recommenced, a shackle at the lower end of the load snagged on a ventilation trunk coaming. The crane operator was ordered to stop, but at the same time the fibre sling parted and the lifting gear fell to the deck, striking both crew. One suffered only minor injuries while the other suffered major head injuries and had to be hospitalised and repatriated.
- Do not stand under a load or in the fall zone!
- In this instance it appears the hazard of snagging gear was well known but crew had not addressed the hazard at the source, deciding to ‘work around’ the hazard at each instance. It was only a matter of time before an accident happened.