Thorough inspections reveal hazardous occurrences

CHIRP regularly receives reports from vessels where inspections reveal defects that are then rectified prior to an incident occurring.

What did the reporter tell us?

During inspection and cleaning of the anchor chain locker several links were noted to be twisted. They were freed up by the Bosun using a chain hook.

An inspection revealed that a cofferdam adjacent to fuel tanks was not included in the list of spaces to be inspected. The vessel’s list was subsequently updated. Inspections also revealed that the evacuation stretchers for enclosed spaces from the bow thruster room and engine room were fitted with D shackles without security pins fitted – replacements were ordered.

On a bridge, the X-band radar hadn’t located the nearest targets. Investigation noted that the magnetron’s planned life had been exceeded, hence its decreasing sensitivity. A replacement was ordered. Other items noted were lack of illumination of bridge wings repeaters, water inside both bridge wing navigation consoles, and frequent interruptions to the speed log data. All defects were rectified following remedial maintenance.

The lessons to be learnt

With respect to the chain locker, CHIRP’s Maritime Advisory Board noted that twisted anchor chains are extremely hazardous should they “jump” on the windlass, and that any work inside a cable locker needs careful planning to avoid serious injury; particular attention to the communication between the locker and the windlass operator is also required.

The importance of listing all enclosed spaces, and precautions to be taken, are emphasised. Enclosed spaces were mentioned in the last edition of CHIRP Maritime FEEDBACK on pages 6/7. No apologies are given for repeating the message; partially open spaces may still be dangerous and qualify for inclusion in the ‘enclosed space’ list.

With respect to stretcher shackles an alternative to a split pin could be to mouse the shackle. Radar magnetrons’ performance should be checked at regular intervals to determine any fall off in performance and a replacement schedule can be entered into the planned maintenance system. This is also a matter of “knowing your equipment”.

CHIRP Suggests

Make inspections thorough, unpredictable, and a matter of the seaman’s eye. In other words we should all be noticing and rectifying shortcomings whenever we are about our business in ships. Alertness amongst crews, from the most junior to the more senior, should be rewarded and invariably acted upon. It is all about incident and accident prevention; if crews feel confident to report shortcomings, without fear of negative reactions, then safety culture is probably fit and well; the opposite is also true.