A short report which details two areas where there was a breakdown in safety awareness.
What the Reporter told us:
During the arrival manoeuvre of a general cargo ship, I noticed that most of the crew members on the fore and aft mooring stations were not wearing any PPE at all (no safety shoes, helmets, or gloves). A few of them, including an officer positioned by the mooring winches control panel, were wearing flip-flops! Furthermore, upon completion of the docking, as they opened the cargo hatches using the ship’s old-style derricks, I could clearly see crew members climbing up the vertical ladders leading to the derrick controls and securing arrangements bare-chested, wearing flip-flops, but not any PPE! It was appalling to witness the complete lack of safety culture, whilst everywhere around them were ship safety notices, posters, IMO signs etc. SAFETY FIRST? Well, maybe not on that ship!
In addition, whilst the ship was on the final approach to the pier, the port anchor was dropped from the hawse pipe without being walked back to the water level first. It just missed the line handler’s boat which was literally a few metres away. As a result, the line handler’s boat rolled heavily and moved quickly away.
The anchor was dropped to slow down the approach. However, this was not clearly communicated by the pilot to all parties involved by VHF. We were all surprised by the unannounced action. The weather was fine at the time (NE winds 10/15 knots), with negligible current and tide, and no abnormalities occurred during the manoeuvre. All the crew in the forward mooring station were standing on the starboard side ready to lower the ropes to the boat. When the anchor was dropped, no one checked the port side prior to letting go.
This is a spiral to disaster – a total lack of awareness of any danger, poor safety culture and no communication.
Having discussed this report, the Maritime Advisory Board agreed with the reporter that the lack of any safety equipment (PPE) is indicative of a scant respect for safety, leading to a poor safety culture both on board and from the company.
With respect to the anchor, it is not uncommon to control the speed of approach by “dredging” an anchor in small ports with restricted room. It is, however, to be expected that proper communication between the bridge team (both pilot and master) and the forward mooring station is maintained throughout. In this case the lack of communication could have been fatal to the line boat. CHIRP agrees with the reporter that prior to dropping an anchor the area should be checked over-side to ensure that it is clear. It is also noted that if the dropping of the anchor is regularly conducted then the line handling boat should not have been in the vicinity until this operation was completed. Finally, it is always good practice to lower the anchor to the waterline prior to letting go – anchors can get jammed in the hawse pipe.