Marine accident report - BW Havfrost, shipboard occupational accident in Singapore 9 June 2014

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The gas carrier BW Havfrost arrived at a dock yard in Singapore 7. June 2014 for a routine dry docking. The day after arrival, during inspection of cargo tanks, a manhole was found open and the cover fallen down on the tank top approximately 17 meters below.

In the morning 9. June the work to retrieve the cover and secure the manhole started. During this work one crew member fell down the manhole down onto the tank top. He was recovered from the tank and given first aid. However, the medical personell were not able to save his life.

The accident occurred when the ordinary seaman entered cargo tank 4P to assist the bosun and an able seaman in retrieving a hatch cover that had fallen into the tank.

The able seaman was the first to climb into the tank dome, followed by the bosun. These two were busy preparing the equipment they intended to use and had their back to the entrance ladder when the ordinary seaman entered the tank as the last of the three. After a couple of minutes, the bosun wondered where the ordinary seaman had got to, and he therefore shone his light around the space in order to locate him. As the ordinary seaman was nowhere to be seen, the bosun went over to the open hatch and looked into the tank. He saw the ordinary seaman lying lifeless at the bottom of the tank.

When the crew were about to start the work in the tank, they were aware that no lighting had been rigged up yet. Portable work lights were available on board the vessel, and it would have been relatively easy to rig them up inside the tank while waiting for the yard to arrange illumination. Despite this, the crew chose to start the work using only the vessel's torches.

The AIBN finds that the lighting conditions in combination with the failure to cordon off or place guardrails around the maintenance hatch were factors that contributed to the ordinary seaman's fall.

None of the three people who were to carry out the work in cargo tank 4P had entered this tank before, but the bosun and able seaman had previously entered similar tanks. The ordinary seaman had never been inside a cargo tank before, and the AIBN finds that this contributed to increasing the risk of an accident.

The AIBN finds that the shipyard's failure to prepare the tank and its incorrect completion of the entry permit also contributed to increasing the risk of an accident.

The shipping company has initiated several measures to improve the safety of the crew during yard stays; therefore, the AIBN will not issue any safety recommendations in connection with this accident.

Occurrence date
Accident category
Personal injury
Other Nation's Territorial Waters
IMO number
Name of vessel
BW Havfrost
Accident type
Fatal Accident, Fall on board, Occupational accident
Vessel type
The Norwegian International Ship Register
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