Tug Death: No Toolbox Talk, No Protective Equipment
The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its report on the death of a seafarer who fell and was crushed as the tug Svitzer Moira was being maneuvered alongside an unmanned tug at Royal Portbury Dock, Bristol in December 2015.
No tool-box talk took place; the job was deemed as routine by the crew and assumptions were made, states MAIB. The engineer Kevin Jackman was not wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at the time of the accident, although it is unlikely that its use would have changed the outcome.
The MAIB investigation concluded that Jackman probably fell while transferring to the unmanned tug before Svitzer Moira had come fully alongside. Although the vessel’s crew provided first-aid and emergency medical services arrived promptly following the accident, the engineer died of his injuries at the scene.
There were no dedicated berths for tugs within Royal Portbury Dock, and so, when not in use, these vessels were moored alongside commercial berths. This meant that the tugs were often required to move from a berth to make way for an arriving vessel. The port tugs were not manned on a continuous basis, and it had become common practice for a tug to move an unmanned tug.
The investigation found shortcomings in the oversight and control of deck operations and lapses in the use of PPE indicative of a significant divergence between company instructions and working practices on board that had not been corrected by shore management.
Following an internal investigation of the accident, Svitzer Marine Limited has identified a number of remedial measures which include a review of relevant safe systems of work and their associated risk assessments, and actions aimed at improving the safety culture on board its vessels.
The report is available here.