The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its investigation report into the 2019 accident in Campbeltown, Scotland, where two crewmen were injured onboard the heavy lift vessel Zea Servant.

The heavy lift vessel, which was commercially operated by Zeamarine at the time, arrived in Campbeltown on March 1, 2019 to load wind turbine tower sections. On March 2, the deck crew, supervised by the chief officer, began preparing the vessel for cargo loading. This work was halted in the afternoon due to adverse wind conditions, but was scheduled to recommence later in the evening when the weather was expected to improve.

Two crewmen were subsequently injured when a suspended load – cargo hatch lifting gear – fell and struck them. The report found that as the load was lifted by the crane from where it had been stored, a shackle on the gear snagged. The crane was stopped but not before the fibre sling attaching the gear to the crane’s hook parted under tension, and the load fell to the deck, striking the two crewmen.

“The injuries to the crewmen were a direct result of standing in the hazardous fall zone around a suspended load. The suspended load fell when the fibre sling being used to lift it failed under tension overload. This happened because a shackle at the lower end of the load became snagged,” the report stated.

It noted two key safety issues: both injured crewmen were standing within the hazardous zone beneath a suspended load, but no action was taken to halt the operation; and the operation being undertaken had not been subject to a risk assessment and the storage areas were inappropriate due to the snagging hazards.

Several actions have since been taken by Zea Servant’s manager, Tianjin Xinhai, including: identifying an alternative and more suitable location to stow the cargo hatch lifting gear; developing a lifting plan for its removal and re-stowing; raising crew safety awareness, particularly safe positioning during lifting operations; highlighting the importance of safety brief and responsibilities of those supervising lifting operations.

Other action points saw a review of the vessel’s safety management system and additional training.

According to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, in light of the actions already taken, the report did not need to make further recommendations.

The full report can be found here.

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