634 - 4/09 - Breach of Safety Management System - Fine - Worldwide


Following a tragic incident onboard a vessel moored in a UK port, the Association would like to remind its members that rules and regulations are primarily in place to uphold safety and order onboard, it is vital that they are properly enforced.

The incident occurred onboard a vessel berthed at a UK port and awaiting repairs when a number of the crew, including the Captain went ashore to celebrate a birthday. Despite the company's strict safety management policy which banned those who had been drinking to excess from boarding the vessel, all crew members returned onboard at around 0100 following a night of drinking.

Upon returning to the vessel one of the crew proceeded to get a cup of coffee but tragically fell down some stairs onboard; he died as a result of his injuries. The subsequent post mortem revealed that he was more than three times over the statutory alcohol limit. Following an inquest the master was fined £1,800 by a court for a breach of the ISM code, the charge related to his

lack of enforcement of the companies Safety Management System (SMS).

This incident highlights a number of key points;

1. Safety policies are in place to protect those onboard and prevent accidents such as this,

2. It is the Master's responsibility to ensure that all rules and regulations are enforced throughout the vessel, whether at sea or in port.

Source of information:

Maritime and Coastguard Agency



Staff Author