Container Snagged by Installation Crane

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What Happened / Narrative:

During cargo operations at an offshore drilling rig, a container was being raised up by the installation crane when it snagged the lifting bridle of an adjacent open top container, causing the lifting legs to slip back down inside. The vessel crew deemed it impossible to retrieve the lifting bridle from outside of the container and therefore decided to enter the unit in order to reach the bridle.

A toolbox talk was held prior to the crew opening the container doors and entering the unit. Once inside the two AB’s managed to lift the bridle up and over the side of the open top container from where it was attached to the installation crane hook and lifted it up to the rig.

On reporting this incident to the operator, the vessel’s Master was made aware of the potential hazards involved in having crew members enter cargo units on deck.

Why Did it Happen / Cause

The legs of the lifting bridle on the open top container do not appear to have been sufficiently long enough to allow any slack, therefore when the bridle was snagged by the adjacent container there was sufficient weight on it to pull it down inside the container.

Another factor was the lack of a net or tarpaulin to prevent the bridle legs from slipping back inside the container.

Corrective Actions Taken / Recommendations

The incident occurred during routine cargo operations on a quiet day and all the personnel involved are experienced in the offshore supply industry. By having personnel enter a container whilst on the deck of the ship, the crew thought they were being helpful in trying to resolve what they thought was a minor issue. However, they overlooked the potential hazards of having personnel climbing in or onto containers whilst they are on the deck of the vessel.

The following corrective actions have been implemented:

  • A safety briefing was held with the operator’s representative to highlight their safety concerns and to emphasise the “Stop the Job” policy. All personnel were instructed that if the job cannot be done safely then it does not get done at all.
  • The use of nets/tarpaulins on open top units should be considered, even when empty, to try and prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.
  • Container lifting legs/bridles should be of a sufficient length to ensure that they hang over the side of the unit with enough slack to prevent them slipping back inside.  

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Source: Marine Safety Forum

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