Fall From Cargo Hold – Kills One


A fatal fall to the bottom of a cargo hold when cleaning on the coaming top face plate.

cargo hold

As per the Hong Kong merchant shipping information note issued on 24th July 2015, the incident occurred on board a Hong Kong registered cargo ship.  The ship had discharged all its cargo and was anchored in Kohsichang, Thailand.  A crew member was assigned the job of cleaning the deck and hatch covers of cargo holds and gutter ways on top of the cargo hold hatch coaming.  The safety harness of the cleaning crew member got entangled by a flattered water hose.  Unable to disentangle himself, the sailor unhooked the safety harness from the guard rope while his colleague helped him straighten the water hose that had flattened under the foot of the sailor. Suddenly the high-pressure water hose was instantly inflated once the foot that held it flattened was removed.  In the sudden jerk caused by the inflated water hose, the cleaning crew member who had unhooked his safety harness lost his balance.  He fell into the cargo hold and sustained serious injuries.  He was declared brought dead at the hospital.

Initial investigative reports suggest that the mishap occurred as the cleaning crew had unhooked his safety harness, not having calculated the risk of a steep fall down the cargo hatch.

The sudden jerk caused by the inflated water hose was due to the sudden recovery of the water flow into it under high pressure.

Lessons learnt:

Ship safety procedures must be meticulously followed in order to avoid such mishaps.  Each task must be commenced only after the risks involved have been thoroughly assessed.  The crew members assigned to each risky job must diligently take care of their safety and that of their co-workers as well.  Tasks assigned must be executed under the supervision of senior officers.


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