Ship to ship transfers of personnel are day to day occurrences in the shipping industry and have been for centuries. Therefore it is alarming that in this day and age of safety culture, regulation and inspection that catastrophic injuries and even fatalities still occur.
Be it the embarkation of a pilot, crew changeover or stevedores gaining access to work the ship whilst in port these accidents are still common and are becoming increasingly costly to the Ship owner. First and foremost the safe access to a vessel is the responsibility of the Master and therefore the Shipowner is liable for all costs and expenses if such an accident should take place.
From the Club’s records we see that these occurrences are not the restricted to old vessels, substandard ports or maligned crew but occur on all vessel types of all age ranges and in ports both new and well established. Put simply the entire maritime sector is susceptible to these accidents but worryingly with increasing costs.
The Club’s records show that the average claim for incidents such as these regularly runs up to the 1$m mark
Following a recent highly publicised case of a severely injured woman passenger being medically evacuated to a coast guard rescue vessel only to be dropped into arctic waters the UK Maritime authority, the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) have recently issued a Marine Guidance Notice (MGN 432(M+F)) on the Safety during Transfers of Persons to and from Ships.
This guidance note is issued to supplement regulation already in force in the United Kingdom but is good guidance to the maritime sector in general highlighting some of the important areas and provision that should be addressed prior to a vessel undertaking this type of operation.
The Club would like to take this opportunity to highlight the severity of these cases and promote good working practices in this area
Source of Information:
UK P&I Club