In the morning of 30 June 2018, in the port of St. Marc, Haiti, there was a fatal occurrence with a hatch crane on board the Dutch cargo ship Beauforce. This was the second fatal entrapment on board the Beauforce in three years. In the investigation by the Dutch Safety Board includes, in addition to the two fatal occurrences on board of the Beauforce in 2015 and 2018, a previously published investigation by the Safety Board and three more fatal occurrences involving hatch cranes that were investigated by sister organisations.
Clear agreements simultaneous work in the hatch crane danger zone is essential
The risk of becoming entrapped or crushed between the hatch crane and parts of the ship is high. Controlling this risk largely depends on the actions of the people present. The investigated occurrences illustrate that errors can have fatal consequences for people working in the close proximity of the hatch crane. It is essential to have a clear framework and agreements with regard to operations being carried out simultaneously. Otherwise the risk of entrapment cannot be or can hardly be controlled. The starting point has to be that nobody will cross the hatch crane rails while the hatch crane is in use. If it is necessary to cross the rails, the hatch crane will not be moved.
Several initiatives to improve safety on board in general, and safe working with hatch cranes specifically, have been undertaken. The Safety Board considers such initiatives important. In addition to this the Safety Board issued the following recommendations:
To Vertom Shipmanagement b.v. and the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners:
1. During hatch crane operations the basic principle has to be that nobody will cross the hatch crane rails while the hatch crane is in use. If it is necessary to cross the rails, the hatch crane will not be moved.
2. Bring the risk of entrapment by hatch cranes further to the attention of the Dutch shipowners and point out the necessity of clear agreements with regard to operations being carried out in the danger zone. Make use of the experience of shipowners in defining the danger zone in relation to the hatch crane and in determining which activities should be allowed to take place in the danger zone and which should not be allowed.
3. Make clear agreements about the exact location of the danger zone in relation to the hatch crane and which activities need to be carried out in the danger zone during moving and working with the hatch crane.
To the Netherlands Maritime Technology and the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners:
4. Investigate together the possibilities to eliminate or reduce the risk of entrapment by hatch cranes from the design. Explicitly include:
- The possibilities involving the design of the ship, both during the design of new ships as engineering opportunities on existing ships;
- Methods to alert people on board of the ship of hatch crane operations in such way that it is clear when it is a direct danger for them.