Fatal 5 - Operation of discharge equipment during mooring - BMAPA Alert
A recent incident occurred whereby aggregate was accidentally discharged from a UK marine aggregate dredger into a mooring boat during a mooring operation, causing a potentially very serious risk of injury to the boat crew. This incident was not reported at the time of occurrence and only came to light when the operator concerned received an additional invoice for the labour cost incurred in cleaning out the boat. The circumstances are apparently that at some time previous, the deck conveyor belt had been test run; depositing a relatively small quantity of aggregate, lying on the deck belt, into the boom conveyor hopper; the boom conveyor belt was not run at this time, thus leaving the material deposited in the boom conveyor hopper. On arrival at the discharge berth, during the final stages of mooring, the discharge equipment was prepared for use, including starting the boom conveyor belt. At exactly the moment the mooring boat passed under the boom conveyor head to run the aft spring, a quantity of aggregate was discharged from the boom conveyor into the mooring boat. Extremely fortunately on this occasion, although causing surprise and alarm to the boat crew, no injuries occurred; however, had the material discharged comprised coarser material e.g. under 80 mm or under 100 mm, a risk of very serious injury to the boat crew would have occurred.
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Cargo equipment installed in marine aggregate dredgers is extremely large, heavy and potentially dangerous if not deployed, used, and recovered competently. Personnel operating cargo equipment must unequivocally appreciate that any unintended interaction between cargo gear and a human being is likely to result in severe injury or death. Cargo equipment in vessels must only be operated by personnel trained and authorised to do so. Whilst the Gold Standard for the UK marine aggregate sector is the NOS Diploma in Marine Aggregate Operations, the absolute minimum requirement for personnel operating cargo equipment on board is satisfactory completion of the Company, vessel specific technical induction checklist. Until a cargo equipment operator has been inducted, familiarised, trained and judged competent to operate the equipment concerned, they must only operate equipment under the tuition of a competent operator. Once deemed competent to operate cargo equipment on their own account, personnel doing so have a responsibility to ensure they operate it safely, including maintaining an awareness of possible interaction with personnel and property both in and external to the vessel. Clearly in this case, an appropriate evaluation of the circumstances was not undertaken before starting the boom conveyor belt, which of course should not have been started whilst the mooring boat was working in the vicinity of the boom. Vessel specific local operating procedures for cargo equipment must be prepared in each vessel and be readily available at relevant equipment operating stations on board. Such local procedures must include any necessary appropriate warnings or cautions applicable to the individual circumstances. Masters are reminded that, in accordance with Company reporting procedures, any personal injury or any incident involving third-party personnel or property, whether or not injury or visible damage occurs must be promptly reported to the Company.
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