The U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published a report on an October 2016 incident in which a Port of London Authority sea pilot died after falling during a transfer from a pilot launch to a general cargo ship.
The accident occurred at 6.12 p.m. local time when the pilot was in the process of boarding the Bahamas registered general cargo vessel Sunmi from the pilot launch Patrol when he fell and was crushed between the two vessels. He died at the scene despite prompt medical attention from Royal National Lifeboat Institution and local ambulance crew.
Among the safety issues identified by MAIB is that the pilot had ingested sufficient alcohol on the day of the accident for his blood to contain 122 mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood approximately two hours after reporting for duty. [In the U.K., as in many jurisdictions, the legal blood alcohol limit for driving is 80 mg per 100 ml]
“It is likely that the consumption of alcohol contributed to his fall,” says the report.
The report also notes that:
Low freeboard pilot transfers involve risks that should be included in risk assessments for boarding and landing
The designated pilot boarding station on board Sunmi was not marked and the deck gate should not have been opened in preparation for the transfer as it was unsuitable
The International Maritime Pilots’ Association “Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilot” poster did not include reference to the amendments to pilot transfer arrangements made in IMO Resolution A.1108(29), regarding deck gates
The International Maritime Pilots’ Association has been recommended to update the poster.
The owner of the Sunmi, Misje Rederi A.S., has been recommended to ensure that the designated pilot boarding areas on the vessel are marked and that pilot boarding operations are overseen by a responsible officer.
Download the full report HERE