Preventing stevedore deaths on board ships needs greater cooperation
PREVENTING stevedore injuries and deaths is gaining urgency now that at least 16 dock workers and 12 seafarers perished in confined-space related accidents between January 2018 and May 2019, according to the International Transport Federation
PREVENTING stevedore injuries and deaths is gaining urgency now that at least 16 dock workers and 12 seafarers perished in confined-space related accidents between January 2018 and May 2019, according to the International Transport Federation. A total of 145 casualties were reported over the last 20 years.
The problem has been exacerbated by the growing diversity of seafarers on board with limited language skills, plus limited labour skills among local dockers. The issue is often encountered in emerging countries where personnel is hired by private enterprises or where applying health and safety policies in practice are challenging.
'Responsible shipowners - particularly those calling at smaller breakbulk destinations with limited onshore handing equipment - are regularly confronted by unprotected dockers with limited training expected to perform rigorous manual tasks during both geared and non-geared loading and unloading operations.
'The stevedores are not only at risk. Quite often it's the seafarers on board who are most at risk of injury due to a mistake by a stevedore,' said partner Erik Green of Danish marine safety experts Green-Jakobsen.
To combat the risk of injury of death as well as the potential paralysis of operations that prevents ships from departing, shipowners are beginning to engage with the ports they regularly call at together with their contractors to create a safer operating environment.
One such operator China Navigation Company, a member of the Swire Group. It has embarked on a project to address these issues it is faced with when calling at some of the smaller island Pacific ports with its liner and tramp services.
'It was only after the exploratory phase engaging with fleet management, officers, ratings, harbour masters, port authorities and stevedores themselves at multiple locations that the complexities emerged,' explained Mr Green.
The project is now entering into implementation phase, and is one of the first of its kind to be initiated proactively by a shipowner rather than a port authority or terminal operator.
IAPH managing director Patrick Verhoeven added: 'Cooperation and interaction between shipowner-operators, ports, terminal operators and their service providers are very much needed in this area of safety at the quayside. It is another demonstration of the need for closer collaboration between shipowners, ports and port service providers on an industry level.'