Lessons learned: Cargo snagging during lifting operations

The incident

A vessel was engaged in deck cargo operations at an offshore location. A number of lifts had been successfully discharged and backloaded which led to limited space on deck.

The crane operator advised the next lift would be the 25ft basket on the starboard side which was duly connected to the crane hook. The vessel deck crew moved to a safe place and confirmed to the crane operator that he was clear to hoist.

As the crane operator began to lift the basket off the deck, the vessel bridge team noticed a corner of the basket had become snagged on a heli-tank and called an ALL STOP.

The call was not acknowledged, and the crane operator continued to hoist. As the 25ft basket was raised approximately 3m above the deck, the snagged lift was suspended approximately 0.5m and the ‘Stop’ call was given again by the bridge team. The crane operator continued to hoist causing the basket to rotate over the adjacent cargo and a third ‘Stop’ call was issued by the bridge team.

The crane operator acknowledged the third stop call and began to take avoiding action. The crane operator was able to successfully land the snagged helitank in a clear area of the deck. The snagged lift was naturally freed, the vessel deck crew remained in a safe location and the basket successfully offloaded without further incident.


Probable causes

  • The vessel deck crew did not ‘tuck in’ the heli-tank bridle on completion of backload;
  • The crane operator missed two opportunities to stop the job when the call was given;
  • The vessel Master failed to report the incident in accordance with the company and charterers reporting procedure

In this case, there were no personnel injuries or property damage however the potential for harm still existed where it could have been prevented.


Lessons learned

  1. Reinforce the need for good communication between vessel and platform crew during lifting operations, particularly in relation to ‘stop the job’;
  2. Improve deck space management and planning. Vessel crew are encouraged to pro-actively give feedback in this area where possible;
  3. All crew are reminded to always be aware of potential snagging hazards and proactively take avoiding action where possible;
  4. Where possible, containerised cargo bridles should be stowed or tucked into the framework or basket to prevent snagging.

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