DMAIB investigation: Crew member caught between guard rail and gantry onboard

The incident

HAV STREYM was a Faroese self-discharging general cargo ship primarily carrying various bulk cargo between ports in Norway and the Faroe Islands. The ship was manned with a master, chief officer, chief engineer, ship’s cook and two able seamen.

In the evening of 2 November 2019, HAV STREYM arrived at Karmsund Bulk terminal, Karmøy, in Norway, and the crew prepared for loading the vessel. On deck, two ABs prepared for opening the hatch cover to forward cargo hold number one. Before opening the hatch cover, the excavator had to be moved aftwards.

One AB therefore went to the excavator cab to operate the travelling gantry that carried the excavator. Meanwhile, the other AB stood by on the main deck at the hydraulic control station waiting for the travelling gantry to move aftwards, so he could open the hatch covers.

When he heard the travelling gantry stop, he reckoned that the gantry had passed and the space above the hydraulic control station was clear. He climbed the guardrail to check the hatch covers visually to make sure they were clear to open.

As the AB climbed the railing, the gantry moved aftwards and the AB’s upper body was jammed between the guardrail and the gantry. When the gantry had passed, the AB fell to the main deck below the hydraulic control station.

The AB in the excavator received a call on his portable radio from the injured AB. The AB immediately rushed to the main deck where he found the injured AB lying on the deck.

Meanwhile, the master received the same call on his radio and rushed to the hydraulic control station together with the ship’s agent, who was present on the ship at the time.

They called for an ambulance, which brought the AB to the hospital, where he was treated for severe internal injuries.



  • The hydraulic control panel was mounted in a place, which gave a restricted overview of the hatch covers. To gain an overview of the hatch covers, the ABs therefore had to climb the railing. This inexpedient location of the hydraulic control station led to several risk factors.
  • When standing on the railing, the AB was exposed to the risk of falling overboard. This risk was mitigated by installing the guardrail. Additionally, when the ABs were working in collaboration, the AB operating the hydraulic control levers was exposed to the risk of being hit by the gantry. To mitigate this risk, the ABs relied on being able to visually and auditorily monitor the position of the gantry before climbing the railing.
  • On the day of the accident, the lighting conditions were such that the AB on deck could only rely on the noise from the gantry to determine its exact position.
  • As the gantry made a short stop, he misjudged its position and climbed the railing before the gantry had passed and was jammed between the guardrail and the gantry.


Actions taken

DMAIB has received information from the owner Frakt & Sand Sp/F on the preventive measures that have been initiated in order to prevent similar, future accidents.

  • A safety light will be fitted on the excavator, which will indicate when the gantry is moving.
  • A ladder will be fitted at the control station by the hatch coaming


Lessons learned

This accident exemplifies how risk mitigation can have adverse side effects when the circumstances change.

In this case, the guardrail, which was designed to prevent the AB from falling overboard, became a hazard, because it made it possible for the AB to become jammed.

However, the fundamental safety issue was the inexpedient location of the hydraulic control levers, which provided a poor overview of the hatch covers.

On HAV STREYM there was no other place to mount the hydraulic control levers, which offered a significantly better overview. Therefore, it would be more expedient to introduce measures, which seperately mitigate the risk of falling overboard and the risk of becoming jammed. E.g. having a fixed ladder, warning lights, which indicate that the gantry is moving and where it is, etc.


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DMAIB report

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