B1/2009M MS OOCL NEVSKIY, a fatal fall overboard during load securing on 13 February 2009
On 12 Feb 2009 at 18:30 OOCL NEVSKIY berthed at Mussalo Harbour, Port of Kotka. The unloading of her containers began immediately. After the incoming containers destined for Kotka were unloaded, the loading of outgoing containers began at 21:30. The ship’s deck department, under the supervision of the boatswain, was securing the loaded containers. One of the deck hands was lashing a container on the port side of cargo hatch number 2 when he slipped and fell overboard. The sea was covered with ice.
The handwritten statements of the chief mate and the boatswain regarding the incident were made available to the investigation commission. According to them, the seaman and his workmate were tasked to secure the loaded containers. The boatswain, supervising their work, had instructed the seaman in question to lash the containers tightly. At the time of the accident his workmate was performing the same task on the starboard side. When the boatswain went to guide this man, he heard the other seaman’s cry. When he turned his head towards the sound he saw the seaman’s legs disappear over the rail.
The sea ice was so thick that the seaman did not break it. He lay motionless on the ice following the 8–8.5 m fall. The boatswain reported the incident to the chief mate who immediately sounded a full alarm on the ship. The stevedoring company’s shift foreman reported the occurrence to the Emergency Response Centre (ERC). Once the seaman was hoisted up to the pier ERC personnel pronounced him dead.
The investigators recommended that the vessel’s flag state and the Finnish authorities actively work with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to promote the safe lashing and unlashing of containers by implementing improvements in fall protection and work area arrangements.