Two dead after sudden vessel movement causes load to swing

Close attention should be given to mooring lines and ship-shore interfaces at all times, but especially while working cargo and when tides are present. It would not be unreasonable to undertake hourly rounds. This is the advice provided by The Nautical Institute after two stevedores lost their lives due to swinging cargo.

The incident was covered in a recent Mars Report. These reports are compiled (anonymously) by The Nautical Institute to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

A general cargo vessel was loading heavy stainless steel pipe bundles with its own cranes. During this time, and unknown to crew or stevedores, the underside of the vessel’s midships fenders caught on the top of the wharf fenders. As the tide fell and the vessel’s draft increased due to loading, the forces between the two fender systems increased. Suddenly, the ship’s fenders and the wharf fenders released from one another causing the vessel to roll.

The sudden and unforeseen release of energy and the movement of the vessel caused the suspended pipe load to swing uncontrollably in the vessel’s cargo hold. As the load swung, it caught three stevedores in the hold, crushing them between the suspended load and the side wall of the vessel. Two stevedores died as a result and one was seriously injured.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202034, that are part of Report Number 332. A selection of this Report will also be published in SWZ|Maritime’s July/August 2020 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.