Poor On Board Safety Measures Crushes Master To Death


  • The master of Cherry Sand was crushed between the dredger and the jetty.
  • It happened when he fell while attempting to step ashore to assist berthing the vessel alongside ‘M’ Berth, Port Babcock Rosyth.
  • The master was wearing a lifejacket and the ship’s crew were able to recover him from
    the water in about 10 minutes.
  • The master was declared life extinct on the quayside.
  • The postmortem examination report recorded that the master had sustained extensive injuries consistent with crushing.

What happened?

The master had climbed over Cherry Sand’s bulwark and on to the rubbing band in readiness to step ashore as part of a self-mooring operation. The chief officer was still
manoeuvring the dredger towards the berth when the master took a single step towards the quayside. Cherry Sand was too far away from its berth, with the result that the master’s foot missed the quay, and his upper body struck the chains and quayside with force before he fell between the quay wall and the vessel. He was crushed by the moving dredger before slipping into the water.

The outcome of the investigation

The MAIB investigation concluded that the system of work employed for self-mooring Cherry Sand was inherently hazardous, and that:
● Linesmen were not used, but no measures had been taken to avoid having to place a
crew member ashore while the vessel was unmoored.
● The crew routinely employed the practice of stepping ashore/on board when the
vessel was not tight alongside.
● The master misjudged the distance between the vessel and the berth and attempted
to step across too early.
● UK Dredging’s safety management system audits had not identifed that Cherry
Sand’s operational practices, and the general safety culture on board, were below the
expected level.

Following the accident UK Dredging has stopped its crews stepping ashore to self-moor
and has reviewed its procedures for mooring and toolbox talks. In addition, the vessel
inspection guidance has been revised to provide greater focus on compliance with

Amendment of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Seafarers

A recommendation has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to amend
the Code of Safe Working Practices for Seafarers to provide guidance on mooring
and unmooring operations, and when it is permissible for vessels to self-moor. A
recommendation has also been made to Associated British Ports aimed at ensuring a
common approach to safety and the application of company procedures across the UK
Dredging feet.

Vessel Details

Cherry Sand is a UK flagged vessel that belongs to the Grab hopper dredger.  The registered owner is Associated British Ports plc while the Manager is UK Dredging.  The 1968 built vessel is constructed of steel with an overall length of 62.84 m.


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Source: Asset Publishing Service


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