P&I Club Warns of Using Crew in Unfamiliar Roles

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
The North of England P&I club says that unfamiliar tasks imposed on ships' crews are leading to more personal-injury accidents occurring on board.

In the latest issue of its loss-prevention newsletter 'Signals', the 50 million GT club says that additional duties - particularly those on deck - are being carried out by inadequately trained crewmembers from places such as the galley and the engine room.

'We have experienced a number of recent cases in which members of both the catering and the engineering departments have been working on deck, only to suffer serious accidents with tragic consequences,' says the club's loss prevention executive Tony Baker.

'If crew members from other departments are asked to carry out tasks normally performed by deck crew, this should only be allowed if they are properly qualified and have received the appropriate training,' he says.

The A- rated club highlights the extra work generated by regulations such as the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code as one reason for employing unfamiliar crewmembers on deck. The Code requires ships' crews to carry out increased security patrolling and gangway watches.

Working with mooring lines and working aloft are examples given by the club of tasks where even the most experienced and well-trained deck crews have to be extremely careful and ensure they are appropriately equipped.

'For those not adequately trained, these are alien environments and thus the risks involved increase significantly,' says Baker. 'It is important for ships' management, both ashore and on board, to appreciate that accidents are likely to occur if personnel are placed under difficult and unfamiliar circumstances.'

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