MAIB report on fatal accident on board Maersk Kithira

8 May 2009

Previous editions of the London P&I Clubs StopLoss bulletin have highlighted the need to take particular care to avoid shipboard injuries during heavy weather and a similar theme was raised in a recently published report from the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) on an incident on the Maersk Kithira in 2008 in which one officer was killed and another was seriously injured.

The accident occurred after the Master gave permission for the chief officer and the chief engineer to go forward at night  during heavy weather to investigate the cause of a bilge alarm that had sounded in the bosuns store. The Masters primary concern was to limit the vessels rolling and, accordingly, he reduced speed and altered course so that the swell was directly ahead of the ship. The two officers made an assessment of the motion of the ship and the quantity of water coming over the bow prior to going on to the forecastle deck. However, while they were working they were engulfed by a large wave that broke over the bow.

The MAIB has recommended that the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency revise the UK Code of Safe Working Practice for Merchant Seamen to include guidance on risk assessment when work in heavy weather is being considered.

The MAIB report on the Maersk Kithira is attached. The risks of working in heavy weather were covered in issues 41 and 48 of StopLoss, which can be downloaded from here