Investigation Report: Accidental Lifeboat Release During Abandon Ship Drill

Nagato Reefer accomodation block and lifeboat. Photo: MAIB
Nagato Reefer accomodation block and lifeboat. Photo: MAIB

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has released its report into the April 2014 accidental release of a lifeboat from a Panama-flagged reefer vessel in which one crewmember was injured.

On April 9, 2014, a lifeboat on the refrigerated cargo ship MV Nagato Reefer fell from its davit while being secured following an abandon ship drill in Southampton. The drill was part of a ‘more detailed’ Port State Control Inspection which was undertaken when an initial inspection identified a number of deficiencies – including a low level of crew competence; inadequate maintenance of safety equipment and a systemic failure of the safety management system.

The accident resulted in one crewmembers sustaining minor injuries and damage to the lifeboat.

The MAIB investigation found that the accident occurred when the lifeboat’s forward lifting hook opened while the boat was being secured as it had not been correctly reset when lifted from the water.

The key safety issues identified by the MAIB were:

  • Low level of crew competence, inadequate maintenance of safety equipment and a failure of internal communications.
  • There was an inadequate safety culture on board and within the management company:
  • The crew had not been effectively trained in the maintenance and use of the vessel’s emergency lifesaving equipment and, as a result, it was not serviceable.
  • Records of SOLAS safety drills and other statutory requirements had been falsified.
  • The site of the accident had been interfered with by the crew before the MAIB investigators attended the scene.

As a result of the investigation, the MAIB has made recommendations to the vessel’s manager to improve the safety culture throughout its fleet and within its shore based management.

Specifically, Recommendation 2015/124 was aimed at ensuring its crews are properly trained in emergency preparedness, the maintenance and operation of their safety equipment, and that the importance of maintaining accurate records required by international statutes is observed throughout its fleet.

Full Report (Opens in PDF): Accidental Lifeboat Release from Nagato Reefer