A Nordic Tankers crewman broke his leg in a fall after unintentionally releasing a faulty life boat, an accident report has revealed.
The incident happened on the 5,800–dwt Nordic Nadja (built 1996) off Rotterdam on 8 October, 2011, as the second engineer entered the free fall boat (FFB) to carry out an inspection.
The Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) said the boat was rolling heavily due to waves and swell. It found the crewman “probably lost his balance and reached out for something to hold on to, in the process unintentionally releasing the FFB.” As a consequence of the accident, the second engineer suffered from loss of memory to some degree and could not remember what caused the release.
The inspection revealed that both the security handle and the release handle had been pushed backward, causing the hook holding the life boat to disengage.
A test revealed that it was possible to move both handles simultaneously from the upright position to the position releasing the FFB, which should be impossible.
Investigators were unable to establish the cause of the malfunction.
Nordic has since ensured that all its boats are fastened to lifting hooks before any crew enter.
Source: Tradewinds, Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board