General cargo vessel Cimbris, Image courtesy Fleetmon via MAIB

MAIB Reports on Fatal Crush Incident on General Cargo Ship ‘Cimbris’

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2491
September 22, 2021

Unsafe working practices and poor safety culture were at issue in the death of port stevedore who was crushed by a hatch cover during cargo discharge operations on board a ship at a Antwerp bulk terminal last year.

The port stevedore was on board the Gibraltar registered general cargo ship MV Cimbris when he was fatally crushed when a hatch cover was moved by the ship’s gantry crane at the Antwerp Bulk Terminal in Belgium on July 14, 2020.

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch conducted the investigation on behalf of the Gibraltar Government in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the MAIB and the Red Ensign Group Category 1 registries of Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Gibraltar.

No-one saw the stevedore place himself in a hazardous position between the crane and the hatch cover, and the ship’s chief officer did not have a clear line of sight, the MAIB said. A second crew member was not used to act as a lookout or banksman.

The MAIB said the hatch cover lifting operation was not properly planned, adequately supervised, or executed in a safe manner. Also, communication between the ship’s crew and port stevedores was poor and the safety culture demonstrated by both was weak.

Gantry crane (in accident position) with hatch cover 9 suspended. Photo via MAIB

A recommendation (2021/126) has been made to Briese Dry Cargo GmbH & Co. KG, the vessel’s manager, to improve the safety culture on board their vessels. The company has taken action to improve its guidance on the safe conduct of gantry crane lifting operations, the MAIB said.

Recommendations (2021/127 and 2021/128) have also been made to the port stevedore federation Centrale der Werkgevers aan de Haven van Antwerpen to improve the safety culture among their port workers and to review compliance with safe working practices on board customer vessels. The MAIB said the organization has reviewed its safety procedures for stevedore operations and issued a safety instruction card, defining the role of safety lookout for all crane operations.

The full report from the MAIB can be found here.

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