Identified Flying Objects

Report Text:

The incident occurred during a cruise in late May in the pool area.  There is a balcony (mezzanine deck) above the pool which is protected by a handrail with composite glass panels underneath; there is a 30-50mm gap between the base of the panels and the deck.  The area is used as a self-service cafeteria and passengers collect trays and take them to tables.

The incident involved a tray being dislodged from the table, through the gap under the composite glass panels and into the pool; fortunately without injury to a swimmer.  The trays used are of robust construction and could have caused injury.

I reported the incident onboard and have subsequently been dealt with by customer relations, but I (a former professional seafarer) have not been entirely satisfied with the outcome.

Onboard the incident was reportedly discussed by the Staff Captain at a meeting where it was decided that the incident was a “one off” and unlikely to recur.  I dispute this judgement.

Customer relations have informed me that there is 1500m of this type of railing on the ship and modifications would be unreasonable.  My concern relates to the cafeteria area around the pool, where the risk exists.

CHIRP Comment

CHIRP forwarded the report to the vessel operator, who responded as follows:

“We do take safety issues very seriously on our ships and having visited the area your correspondent mentions I can understand his concern. In response to this issue we do not consider `filling’ the gap between the composite glass panel and the deck is appropriate in this instance.

However, steps have been taken to coat the underside of the trays with a non-slip material to ensure that they will not be as easily dislodged in the future. The ship’s staff also try to encourage the passengers to remain in the open deck area of the cafeteria with their trays rather than carry them up to the deck above the pool.

This issue will continue to be monitored to ensure that appropriate steps are taken in the unlikely event of there being a similar occurrence in the future.

Some Administrations require passenger vessels to maintain risk registers or similar documents and the Board wishes to emphasise the importance of identifying and mitigating the risks of “routine” activities.