Lost – the ordinary practice of good seamanship

CHIRP has seen an increasing number of reports where there has been exposure to potential risk and hazardous incidents. These could so easily have been prevented if those involved had adopted the ordinary practice of good seamanship. The master’s role in establishing a good safety culture onboard is important but it is not the role of one person. For example, the OOW oversees the safety of crew on deck during times of bad weather and warns any crew members on deck in the event of changing course and the possibility of heavy seas on deck.

The following are extracts of reports we have received:

Report 1:

During bad weather, the bosun without informing anyone went onto the main deck to drain the manifold drip tray.

Lessons learned: Seamen must respect the sea and fear it. If they do not, they do not remain seamen for very long. Company has prepared a safety poster with safety instructions during bad weather that was forwarded to all of the fleet vessels.

Report 2:

Atmosphere in the paint locker was hazardous because the natural vent and the access door were both closed.

Corrective action: Post a warning sign to make sure the paint store is well ventilated before entering. Lessons learned: Atmosphere in a paint room may be dangerous. Ensure that the space is well ventilated before entry.

Report 3:

During a maintenance job in the engine room the 3rd Engineer left a bilge grating open. He returned soon after and inadvertently fell in the unguarded opening, luckily sustaining only light scratches. It was a short cut that was an improper attempt to save time and effort.

Lessons learned: All openings through which a person might fall must be kept closed when access to the space below is not required. Also, when opened it shall be appropriately fenced and, where practicable, warning signs should be posted as required.

Report 4:

After departure from the discharge port, the master noticed from the Bridge that the ventilation cover of the forecastle exhaust fan was open, which could result to possible flooding in the bosun store compart – ment in case of bad weather. Securing of vessel’s weathertight doors, deck openings, ventilators, as well as loose gear, prior/upon vessel’s departure from port, is an essential safety aspect and good seamanship practice. Proper securing and safe stowage of vessel equipment and material makes a significant contribution to achieving professional and effective safety and risk management, which should be continuously and care – fully considered by all persons involved. Unsecured weathertight doors at sea can be a contravention of SOLAS requirements and constitutes a serious safety risk for the ship and those onboard.

Report 5:

Despite the chief officer’s orders, some paint drums were found unsecured during bad weather conditions. Securing of vessel’s equipment and loose gear prior to departure from the port and also verification when adverse weather conditions are expected, is very basic seamanship practice and an essential safety issue. Deviations may lead to serious accident andor damage. It is important that officers and supervisors check and verify that all members of the crew follow their instructions, especially those that relate to safety issues