Chemical Tanker Ends Up In Tragedy While Shipping


  • A chemical tanker doing ship-to-ship transfers ends up in tragedy
  • Before the lift could be lowered to the deck, swinging toward the tanker and knocking the Master overboard. 

202046 Ship-to-ship transfer ends in tragedy, reports The Nautical Institute.

The developments

A chemical tanker had scheduled to take on stores while underway via a small re-supply boat. 

The Masters of the two vessels had decided on a meeting point to undertake the ship-to-ship transfer operation on a heading of about 305° and at a speed of about four to five knots.

The re-supply boat came alongside the tanker and the tanker’s crane’s hook was lowered and the first pallet was clipped on and the lift started. 

The pallet was caught by another pallet on the deck of the re-supply boat.

A crew member ran to the re-supply boat’s wheelhouse to notify the Master to put an extra helm towards the tanker. The Master left the wheelhouse and assisted the deck staff to clear the lift. The re-supply boat was moving away from the tanker and the Master recognized they were required to abort the lift.

Before the lift could be lowered to the deck, it came free from the YY pallet swinging toward the tanker and knocking the Master overboard. Lifebuoys were thrown to the Master but he was incapable of reaching any of them. Search and rescue operations were commenced but the Master was not found.

His body was found four days later. The inquiry concluded that neither the deck crew nor the Master was wearing personal flotation devices, even though the gunwale was only 0.5 meters high implying there was a substantial danger of falling overboard.

Lessons to be learnt

  • The opinion to transport stores while making way at four knots was dubious. It included more dangers than stopping and allowing the re-supply boat to ensure lines to the tanker before the lifts began.
  • Leaving the wheelhouse unattended to help on deck was another mistake. 
  • Helping on the deck of the re-supply boat without personal flotation devices was questionable.

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Source: The Nautical Institute 


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