Crew Died When Fishing from Ship’s Gangway


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report finds that, a bosun who intended to fish from the ship’s accommodation ladder lost his balance and fell into the sea.

bulk carrier

A bulk carrier in Western Australia on October 6, 2014, faced a overboard fatality.  The ATSB has reported its findings after investigating the incident.

A bosun during his lunch break saw fish below the accommodation ladder that was in the shade.  So with the help of another seaman descended down the accommodation ladder and intended to fish.  He lost his balance and fell into the sea.  The seaman threw a lifebuoy toward the bosun immediately and within 10 minutes the ship’s rescue boat was deployed and an extensive air and sea search continued for three days.  However, the bosun was not found.

bulk carrier

Reasons reported:

  • The bosun and the seaman were not wearing any flotation devices or fall prevention equipment.
  • The bosun did not consider the risks involved.
  • Wet clothing and the possibility entanglement with fishing gear.
  • Lack of implementation of ship’s safety management system procedures for working over the ship’s side.
  • Underdeveloped safety culture on board.
  • The ATSB crew observed lack of fall prevention equipment, unraised handrails on a ladder section 13m above water with two crew members on it and crew member standing outside ship’s handrails with no fall protection or lifejacket.

Lesson learnt:

  • Compliance with policies and procedures to be insisted.
  • The importance of taking safety precautions during both work and during leisure periods should be emphasised.
  • Fishing from ships’ accommodation ladders to be prohibited.
  • Training programs to highlight the importance of safety must be conducted often.
  • Warning signs and safety posters have been posted on ships.
  • Effective safety culture on board ships must be promoted.

Source: ATSB


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