Master Link Failure Results in Tender Boat Fall from Vessel


Master link in service with bolted on stainless steel handles

The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has issued safety alert regarding the catastrophic failure of a master pear link and the subsequent tender boat fall from its stowed position.

The incident:

A tender boat onboard a cruise ship registered in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas suddenly fell from its stowed position into the water. The immediate cause was a catastrophic failure of the link that connects the fall block to the release gear/hook.

No persons were injured; however the tender boat itself was a total loss. An immediate internal investigation was commenced by the Owners who also instructed the vessel’s Classification Society to conduct material examination to determine the failure mechanism of the master link.


Fractured master link with handles removed

Despite annual and 5-yearly inspection by competent person, the substandard condition of the connecting link was not uncovered. No nondestructive testing (NDT) was carried out to verify the condition of the links, and the bolted on handles were not removed to ensure full visual inspection nor were the dimensions of the connecting links measured to uncover potential reduction in diameter as a result of corrosion.

The connecting links were of a substandard material, below LSA Code safety factor requirements, fitted by design with handles that obstruct visual inspection and cause galvanic corrosion. This overall resulted in the crack originating, propagating without being noticed and caused final catastrophic failure.


It is recommended that the above information is taken into consideration and the condition of master links be verified by a competent authority to ensure the structural integrity is not compromised.

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Source: BMA


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