Fatal Fall from Chemical Oil Tanker Accommodation Ladder Platform


According to an investigation report published by the UK Government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, MAIB, a crew member fell between the Luxembourg-flagged vessel and the quay at Saltend, Hull, England.

Summary of events

  • On 26 June 2017, at 19:20, the chemical oil tanker Nabucco was all fastened and
    berthed port side alongside Associated British Ports (ABP) Terminal number 1 jetty in
    Saltend, Hull, United Kingdom (UK).
  • Two means of access were established. One gangway was installed to enable access
    in low water situation and the port side, accommodation ladder was established for high
    water situations.
  • At around 22:50 the means of access were required to be changed as the tide was on
    the ebb and the accommodation ladder needed to be stowed away. The gangway was
    prepared for accessing the vessel.
  • The Chief Officer was working alone on the platform of the accommodation ladder and
    at 23:03 he fell from the accommodation ladder platform between the vessel and the
    quay into the water.
  • Despite intense search actions, the body of the Chief Officer was only discovered on
    5 July 2017 some 30 km downstream.

Committee’s recommendations

Based on the findings of the safety investigation, the following safety recommendation
was addressed to the vessel operator.

  • SOLAS regulation II-1/3-9 requires all ships constructed on or after 1 January 2010 to
    be provided with means of embarkation and disembarkation for use in port and in port
    related operations which have been constructed and installed in accordance with the
  • A safety net should be mounted in way of the accommodation ladder and gangways as
    a person may fall from the means of embarkation and disembarkation or between the
    ship and quayside.
  • Seafarers working aloft or over side should be continuously supervised by a competent

Normal practice recommended in Maritime industry guide

1. To ensure that the operators have all important Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)’s, including lifejacket and safety device.

2. Use the electric spindle to bring the ladder close to the ship side.

3. Connect the upper platform to the torque tube (if disconnected).

4. Hoist the accommodation ladder using remote control by pushing up button till 2 meters below the hoisting arm.

5. Rig the lower platform in a horizontal position and remove the stanchions and the safety net.

6. Fold the handrails from both sides of the ladder.

7. Remove railing and stanchions from the upper platform.

8. Now continue hoisting the ladder until it has been canted into the recess.

9. Fasten the lash to the accommodation ladder.

10. Switch off the electrical supply to the winch and remote control.


The following points were observed in the unfortunate incidents that led to the loss of precious human life.

  • The vessel was running late on schedule because the loading had to be performed with the ship’s cranes instead of the cranes on the jetty that was inoperative.
  • The ship’s gangway had to be moved by crane from the aft of the manifold to the forward end of the main deck to be installed, as jetty number 1 was partially blocked by ongoing works.
  • The accommodation ladder had to be rigged from the aft end of the main deck as the gangway was deemed too steep for safe access to the ship during High-water.
  • Due to the ebb tide, the C/O took the decision to stow the accommodation ladder himself, which was not a regular task for him on board the vessel, and to perform the task alone. This was not in accordance with the existing procedure, which required a second person supervising the operation.
  • The C/O was not wearing a lifejacket and a safety harness while performing the
    task of stowing the accommodation ladder. This was not in accordance with the
    existing procedure.
  • Safety procedures defined in the operator’s SMS were not adhered to by the crew at different levels of responsibility, impeding the safety on board the
    Nabucco and weakening the safety culture.

Did you subscribe to our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: GOV.UK


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.