Urgent Maritime Safety Advisory: Heightened Vigilance Needed For Enclosed Space Entry

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  • The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator issues a crucial maritime safety advisory emphasizing the need for continuous vigilance regarding enclosed space entry on RMIflagged vessels.
  • With seven incidents since 2020 resulting in the loss of 11 lives, the advisory highlights commonalities in these incidents, urging vessel managers to review and amend enclosed space entry procedures.
  • The Administrator provides specific recommendations for ship managers and Masters, emphasizing the dangers, permit requirements, zerotolerance policies, and the importance of periodic drills to prevent unauthorized entry.

RMI Urges Heightened Vigilance for Enclosed Space Entry

In response to seven enclosed space entry incidents resulting in the loss of 11 lives since 2020, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator has issued a maritime safety advisory to stress the critical importance of continuous vigilance regarding enclosed space entry on RMIflagged vessels.

Recent Incident Sparks Investigation

A recent incident, currently under investigation, led to the tragic loss of three seafarers. This incident, along with previous occurrences, serves as a stark reminder of the dangers associated with improper entry into shipboard enclosed spaces.

Commonalities and Concerns

The Administrator notes significant similarities in these enclosed space entry incidents, including a blatant disregard of risks, lack of hazard awareness, failure to notify senior crew members, improper exercise of StopWork Authority, and unauthorized entry by shore personnel. Recognizing these concerns, the Administrator strongly recommends that ship managers take immediate action to review and, if necessary, amend their enclosed space entry procedures to align with regulatory requirements.

Key Recommendations for Ship Managers

Ship managers are urged to consider the following recommendations:

  • Acknowledge the dangers of entering enclosed spaces.
  • Ensure every entry, except for rescue operations, requires an enclosed space entry permit.
  • Establish physical barriers to control access and prevent unauthorized entries.
  • Review and revise enclosed space entry permits, emphasizing preentry checks.
  • Implement and enforce a zerotolerance policy for breaches in enclosed space entry procedures.
  • Educate crew members on recognizing enclosed spaces and different types encountered during shipboard tasks.
  • Define actions for crew members when shore personnel need to enter enclosed spaces.
  • Clearly identify authorized personnel for enclosed space entry.

Master’s Responsibilities and Drills

The advisory extends recommendations to Masters, urging them to:

  • Hold special safety meetings emphasizing shared responsibility.
  • Conduct periodic enclosed space entry and rescue drills in varied locations.
  • Reinforce the application of StopWork Authority to all on board.
  • Review ship’s enclosed space entry procedures with officers and crew.

Shared Commitment to Safety

The RMI Maritime Administrator underscores the urgency of these recommendations to foster a shared commitment to creating safe and secure conditions for seafarers globally. By adhering to these guidelines, the maritime industry aims to prevent unauthorized entries, enhance safety protocols, and mitigate the risks associated with enclosed space entry.

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Source: Safety4sea