B6/2004M Ms SUPERFAST VIII, Fall of an MOB boat to the sea in a drill in Hanko West Port on 9.11.2004
While the Greek passenger vessel the SUPERFAST VIII was in Hanko Port, a drill was held onboard, in which the so-called MOB boat was lowered to the sea. When the boat had been turned over the gunwale by means of the davit on the deck, the seaman in the boat detached the charging cable of the battery from its socket. The battery cable came to the boat from the davit fastened to a support wire. The combination of the charging cable and the wire got stuck in the release lever of the suspension hook of the boat so that the hook opened. The boat dropped to the sea from a height of over 20 metres together with three crew members. All three were injured, two severely and one less severely. The boat was not damaged.
One of the maritime inspectors on the site telephoned the emergency centre, which alerted help to the site. In addition, a patrol boat was alerted from the Hanko Coast Guard Station. Emergency Services units and ambulances arrived at the scene quickly. The accident victims were brought to the shore and transported to hospital.
The aim has been to prevent the accidental opening of suspension hook of the boat by means of a security pin and further by means of a safety spring, but these were not in place when the opening took place. In the opinion of the investigators, it has not been possible for the safety spring and the security pin to come loose by accident, and so it is likely that the pins have been removed either at the beginning of the drill or they have not been in place even before the drill. The purpose is not to remove the pin until the boat is close to the surface of the water, which those in the boat have said they knew. The instructions in the boat contain no mention of the removal of the pin nor of the fact that this should not be done until after the boat has been lowered to the water.
Survival craft and rescue boat drills always include risks, which, if realised, have also resulted in numerous other severe accidents. Therefore it should be ensured onboard all vessels that the security measures are sufficient and that the boat crew each time has available to them instructions detailing the safest operating procedure.