Sunday, 29 September 2019

Fatal Incident of a Drunken Crew Engaged in Cargo Operations


‘MV European Endeavour’ is a combined Passenger and Freight Roll-on Roll- off vessel, operating a service between the ports of Liverpool and Dublin. 22nd June 2017, on arrival of the vessel at Dublin, the vessel discharged its cargo of vehicles, both accompanied and unaccompanied. 
When ‘MV European Endeavour’ commenced loading the vehicular cargo for the next voyage, from Dublin to Liverpool, a crew member moved behind the load he was directing into place and was crushed to death from injuries.

The incident

At approximately 13.30 hrs the Chief Officer received a call from the Bosun requesting immediate medical assistance on Deck five.
The trailer was moved forward to give access to the casualty. He was given first aid treatment and was removed by ambulance to a nearby hospital where unsuccessful resuscitation attempts were made and stopped at 14.09 hrs, at which time he was declared dead. 

The Operation 

The crew was engaged in cargo operations, discharging Dublin cargo and then loading Liverpool cargo. 
  • The trailer involved was the fifth unit to be loaded on Deck five. 
  • The Chief Officer was in overall charge of the activity. 
  • The Second Officer (Duty Officer) was on deck at the time positioned at the stern ramp. 
  • The supervision of the upper deck was the responsibility of the Bosun. 
  • Deck crewmembers (Able Bodied Seafarers) were tasked with different duties. 
  • On this occasion the casualty was tasked with guiding the trailers into position on Deck five. 
  • There were no witnesses to the incident. 

Autopsy report

The Coroner’s autopsy report states that death “was due to injuries sustained from a significant abdominal thoracic blunt force trauma.” 
The autopsy report also shows a significant blood alcohol level. The results of toxicological analysis provided to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) are provisional at the time of publication. The determination of the death causation is a matter for the coroner’s inquest. 


  • There were no witnesses to the event that caused the death of the casualty.
    • Something caused the casualty, an experienced seafarer, to move behind the load he was directing into place. 
    • As a consequence the casualty was crushed and died from his injuries. 
  • The Coroner’s autopsy report stated that there was a significant level of ethanol (alcohol) in the casualty’s blood. 
    • The level present in the toxicology report was in excess of the standard set out in the IMO STCW Convention as above. 
    • The Coroner’s Post Mortem Report conclusions and the accompanying toxicology report are provisional at the time of publication of this report. 
    • It is the role of the Coroner’s Office to determine the cause of death. 
  • Under the system of loading unaccompanied trailer units, the driver of the tug cannot see the AB guiding him into position and the crew rely on whistles by the guide to alert drivers to any issue. 
    • During this incident the driver did not have sight of the guide and the whistle system was not effective, either because no whistle was heard or the guide was not in a position to blow the whistle. 

Safety Recommendations

The Company should:
  • Review the system of work in relation to cargo operations for unaccompanied trailers.
  • Review the application and enforcement of its drug and alcohol policy to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
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Source: MCIB

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