While working on the forecastle of a vessel with 6000 GT, a seaman was electrocuted and consequently died.
A 110 m long multipurpose dry cargo ship was on the way to South Korea. It was a fair day; the wind came from the south with a force of 3 and near to calm seas. The crew was advised by the bosun to proceed with surface preparation at the wave breaker’s backside in order to protect it from corrosion. The work had already started a few days before but was interrupted during the port stays.
Four of the deck crew were removing rust at the wave breaker. One of them was using an electrical angle grinder which had been delivered together with other tools a month before. Suddenly, the vessel encountered swell and the four fellow seamen moved up closer in order to take shelter from the water. The AB holding the running grinder suffered an electric shock, fainted and fell down onto the main deck. The other three crew were also lightly electrocuted, but not being incapacitated hurried to render first aid. The fallen crewmember was found lifeless without breathing and was carried into the fore castle store. The crew made attempts at resuscitation and the captain was advised by phone by a doctor to monitor the vital functions of the heavily injured. There was no possibility to send a rescue helicopter and finally, after three hours, the captain decided to stop the reanimation.
The ISM Code’s objective to provide safe practices in ship operation and a safe working environment could not be fulfilled.
No risk assessment was carried out for works on deck with electric power tools.
The shipboard manuals should be adjusted and amended in the area of deck work practice in regard to relevant risk assessments. Furthermore, permits for electrical power portable tools should be implemented .
The seafarer should gain perception for the ISM Code objective by introducing regular and adequate training programs.