Crewman crushed

Imperial Ship Management of Sweden has been criticised by UK accident investigators after a crewman was crushed on a ro-ro in Libya.

The able seaman died after being hit by a container moved by a fork-lift on the 16,600–dwt UK-flagged Tyrusland (built 1978) in Tripoli on 15 May last year.

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said crew and drivers did not have a safe system of work for the cargo handling operations which they were conducting.

A risk assessment for deck operations existed but did not properly identify hazards, it added.

“In particular, the danger of a crewmember being unsighted by a fork-lift driver while in the path of a moving container had not been addressed,” MAIB said.

On 23 May, while MAIB inspectors were on the vessel investigating the fatality, a container snagged on the deck head and subsequently fell whilst being handled by a fork-lift truck.

This punched a hole in the deck.

The company said the incident was caused by the excess speed of the fork-lift and the driver not recognising the effect of the deck’s uneven surface.

The Tyrusland death was the fourth accident, two of which were fatal, in less than a year involving UK-registered ships managed by Imperial.

On 25 November 2012, two crewmen died when they were washed overboard from another vessel.

A previous MAIB accident report found the safety management system contained no detailed requirements with regard to sending crew on deck in heavy weather, and no formal assessment of the risks had been carried out on board.

Prior to the Tyrusland accident, weaknesses in the ship’s organisation had been identified in an internal audit by the company and a UK flag state audit by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

"However, the investigation identified that the company had not given a sufficiently high priority to management actions to address the identified shortcomings," MAIB said.

The MCA’s follow-up action regarding non-conformities could have been more effective, it added.

Charterer CMA CGM conducted a safety assessment on board Tyrusland on 27 June 2013, which resulted in the replacement of closed-corner style trailers by open-cornered versions.

Use of fork-lifts were banned for 40-foot boxes.