Most accidents on board ship are caused by slip, trips, and fall.  Another incident again happened on 5th June 2018 at Chittagong Bangladesh.  A Master (age 57), while taking draft using rope ladder at about 22:00hrs, slipped and fell down into the river in low tide.  Other crews tried to save him by throwing lifebuoy, but Master was unable to catch it, and he is still missing until now.

Obviously from the above incident, we can learn there are some important precautionary actions need to be done prior working on over side vessel:

  1. Was over side sufficiently lighted?
  2. Was all vital equipment, such as rope ladder is examined beforehand? Is it of the right quality and condition (not slippery)?
  3. Do you wear adequate Protective Personal Equipment? Do you wear life jacket?
  4. Do you need safety belt & lifeline fitted?

Have you informed your team mate that you will be working over side and ask them to keep watch on deck?

When working over side work using ladder, crews:

  • Must not try to overreach object
  • Must never lose balance by leaning or stretching out too far
  • Must never use one hand to climb ladder. Always use both hands.

Crew must always put safety first.  The importance of following the procedure before carrying jobs is non-negotiable.

Procedure for carrying out over side work, please go to:

  • Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seaman Chapter 14
  • SMS Procedures S-0504 section 7.9, 8.4.

SMS – Cold work permit.