During bad weather, a crew member was washed overboard while securing the pilot ladder.
While a vessel of 12000 GT was in transit of the South China Sea, the chief officer advised the crew not to enter the deck on fore ship due to heavy weather. Instead, the crew should proceed with indoor works which had commenced the day before. Ignoring the chief officer’s safety instructions, the bosun ordered two ABs to assist in securing the pilot ladders as they were at risk of being swept away by incoming seas. When the work at starboard side was done, the ABs crossed the hatch covers to port side. While one AB remained on the hatch cover, the second AB passed with the bosun down the catwalk ladder to main deck. Suddenly, the bosun was hit by strong surging green water and was swept overboard.
Although a SAR operation was immediately triggered, the bosun could not be rescued.
Training shall foster the understanding and acceptance of safety rules and regulations.
Lesson to Learn
In cases the crew has to work on deck despite of strong winds and heavy sea, safety precautions have to be taken accordingly. Furthermore, urgent works to be done should be communicated to the master and the bridge team, so that a risk assessment can be consulted if necessary and appropriate measures taken.