On joining day, on my first trip on this vessel, the crew change took place, with the vessel sailing soon after. The crew had all the normal jobs to do; garbage, stores, bunkers, etc and on this day, the port liferaft was replaced. I was busy getting to know the vessel during this time.
The weather was reasonable during the trip, but bad enough to limit deck work. About three weeks in to the trip I was on deck near the port life raft when I noticed that it didn’t look right. On further examination I noticed that the securing lashings were fitted to the hydrostatic release properly, but the painter was not; it was coiled up and taped to the side of the raft case. Three weeks at sea without a port life raft in an old ship in the North Sea.
When LSA comes aboard it should be checked that it’s correct and stowed properly by an officer, but on this occasion it was left for someone else or another day due to pressure from the office for the vessel to sail and crew incompetence. I tried to bring it up at the “safety” meeting and the “Captain” said it wasn’t relevant!
During this trip there were chemicals used, hot work, men going aloft and other jobs that warrant a permit, but not one permit was issued during that trip. This is a major problem on ERRV’s [Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels] who, compared to other offshore vessels, have a massive number of LTI’s and other accidents. There is no safety culture; with some not seeing the point and injuring themselves and allowing unsafe practices to occur, like non-secured liferafts.
Information on the safety performance of the Offshore sector in the UK is relatively easy to obtain when compared with other sectors and the industry at large. Its cross-sector Marine Safety Forum contributes a great deal to the sharing of information and promotion of best practice.
Whilst there was evidence that some ERRV operating companies are not league leaders in safety performance the figures available do not support the reporter’s contention that the standards are vastly different.
The report was forwarded to the vessel operator who responded positively and has taken a number of steps intended to address the issues raised within this report and others identified internally. These measures include shore based and shipboard training in areas such as company procedures, risk awareness, hazard identification, near miss reporting and permit to work systems.