A Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier, en route from Brazil to Barra dos Coqueiros to load maize, had a deck team comprising the bosun, carpenter, purser, and steward.
They were assigned to paint the inside of No. 3 cargo hold's hatch coaming. After painting the fore hatch coaming, they planned to paint the starboard side.
However, during their work, the purser fell and was fatally injured.
The investigation found that inadequate shipboard risk assessment, non-compliance with safety protocols, improper on-site supervision, inadequately planned training, and ineffective training on working aloft were contributing factors to the accident.
A Fall From Height Accident
The vessel docked in Guayaquil, Ecuador to load and unload containers. After unloading, the crew began loading containers, including reefer containers.
During this process, a technician was working alone on a catwalk between the reefer containers and the hold.
Unfortunately, he fell from an open hatch cover and was found unconscious inside the hold, about 13 meters below.
The accident was reported to the management company, and a rescue team declared the technician's death.
The investigation revealed contributing factors: the technician's lack of safety awareness regarding working at heights alone near the hatch cover, and the crew's failure to follow the ship's safety management system, including ensuring the technician wore proper personal protective equipment during cargo operations.
Ineffective communication between shore personnel and the crew was also identified, including the absence of safety meetings, instructions for wearing personal protective equipment, risk assessments, and control measures for working aloft.
Additionally, no action was taken to close the hatch cover promptly when cargo operations ceased, as required by the "Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers."
Communication between shore technicians and their company was similarly inadequate, lacking safety instructions and supervision during cargo operations on board.