Health and safety

MAIB finds Seatruck Pace seafarer fell to his death after ignoring safety procedures

5 July 2019

A Marine Accident Investigation Bureau (MAIB) report into a death on board the Cyprus registered ro-ro freight vessel Seatruck Pace has found that safety procedures around falls from height on board were not followed.

Shortly after 08:20hrs on 17 December 2018, the assistant bosun on board the Seatruck Pace was found on the ramp between the main vehicle deck and the lower hold, having apparently fallen 4.5m, along with a heavy metal trestle.

The crewman was working alone and preparing to paint the leading edge of the open ramp hatch cover. For reasons that could not be determined by the MAIB, the assistant bosun crossed a temporary safety barrier guarding the edge of the open hatch and walked along a narrow deck edge between the ship's side and the open hatch on which several trailer trestles were stowed.

Several crew heard the trestle landing, but the assistant bosun's fall was not witnessed. He was treated at the scene by the ferry's crew and paramedics before being taken to hospital. He died three days later.

The MAIB investigation found that, although the risk of falling was apparent, it was accepted by the assistant bosun, who had probably taken similar risks in the past.

Work practices adopted by other deck ratings during hatch cover maintenance two days earlier indicated that adherence to safety procedures was more a matter of routine and compliance, rather than conviction, it said.

Seatruck Ferries Ltd, the ferry's manager, has taken actions aimed at preventing similar accidents, ensuring safe systems of work, and gauging and improving the safety culture among its crews.

In view of the actions taken, MAIB made no recommendations.