A high-speed passenger ferry was berthed at a pier, embarking passengers via a shoreside gangway that rested on the deck at the ferry’s stern embarkation point. The ferry was made fast aft with a stern line and a spring. A similar ferry was berthed at the same pier in a stern-tostern confguration, reports MAIB.
After the last passenger embarked, the crew member at the aft embarkation point raised the gangway and let go the stern line in preparation for departure. At the same time, the
master informed the crewman that there were still a few passengers at the pier, so the crewman lowered the gangway back down onto the deck for them to embark.
As the final passengers were stepping on board, the second ferry propelled ahead. The second ferry’s propeller wash caused the stern to swing out and the gangway fell off the embarkation point. The passenger on the gangway at the time stumbled and could have fallen into the sea; the crewman realised what was happening and grabbed the passenger, preventing this.
It was unsafe to embark more passengers after the stern line had been released. The ferry
was not properly made fast and became vulnerable to the effect of the second ferry’s propeller wash. Communication between the bridge and the mooring deck is key to ensuring that crew know and understand the full situation, particularly where such evolutions can be very repetitive. It is also important for bridge teams to monitor the embarkation point closed-circuit television (CCTV), if provided, to maintain a good awareness of passenger movements.
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