Dropped Object Whilst Re-Positioning Cargo

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What Happened / Narrative:

At the request of the vessel Master, the rigs starboard crane was asked to re-position a tank on the aft deck of the vessel so it could be secured more effectively prior to the vessels departure for port. Whilst manoeuvring the lift, a piece of grating from the top of the tank was seen to fall from a height of approximately 6 or 7 metres onto the vessel’s deck. The 2 deck crew were around 15 metres forward from the Dropped Object which weighed 17 kilograms. The incident has high potential but no injuries to personnel or environmental impact ensued.

The potential consequence of a 17kg object falling 6 metres is fatality.

Why Did it Happen / Cause:

The tank frame has grating sections on the top of the unit to cater for personnel accessing the hatch on the top of the steel tank. The centre sections hinge to allow the hatch on the top of the tank to be opened. The outer sections of the grating are intended to be fixed in place with four each bolts and butterfly clips.

Whilst repositioning the lift the bottom of the tank made contact with the cargo rail tilting/rocking the lift causing the grating to fall off. On subsequent investigation in port it was found that only one clip was correctly fitted on one side grating and all four clips appeared slack on the side the grating fell from. One of the clips was also bent.

Corrective Actions Taken / Recommendations:

The unit was returned to port and quarantined until it could be lifted safely and returned to the vendor. A replacement tank was ordered and instructions given to the vendor to ensure checks are made to the securing arrangements on all their cargo units.

This safety alert is being created and shared to warn all other suppliers, vendors, logistics service providers, road transport companies, vessel and installation crews of the dangers of unsecured loose objects on cargo units and the potential for dropped objects. Loading and discharging cargo in an offshore environment is very dynamic often with significant vessel and crane hook motion which may sometimes lead to the cargo unit impacting with other containers or structures with associated accelerations that can potentially dislodge loose items.

This incident aptly demonstrates the importance of vessel and installation crews staying well clear of suspended crane lifts at all times where there is a potential for falling objects.

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Source: Marine Safety Forum

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