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Safe Boarding Round Table

Safe Boarding Round Table

How aware is the industry of the safety hazards encountered by crew, passengers and pilots when boarding and disembarking vessels?

Felicia Alleyne, registrar at the Bahamas Maritime Authority, recently took part in a Round Table hosted by The American Club. The event, held on 19 February 2020, opened up the topic of safe boarding for discussion among a variety of industry professionals. The participants, who ranged in experience from pilots, captains, engineers, surveyors, DPA, flag state registrars, lawyers and insurance and loss prevention VPs, were able to share their different perspectives on the matter and address how ingress and egress related accidents affect their corner of the industry.

Discussed more closely were common boarding challenges, current policies, or in some cases a lack thereof as they relate to gangway watch, the positioning and angle of inclination of gangways, routine testing and planned maintenance of ladders and gangways, and proper securing of pilot ladders which could create a more stable ascend and descend experience for pilots and other personnel.

Later on, the debate turned to a number of cost effective measures that could be adopted by owners and operators to assist them in proactively limiting slip and fall injuries, gangway related deaths and potential lawsuits arising from injuries sustained during boarding and disembarking. These measures would be helpful on any vessel, from a tug boat to a passenger cruise ship.

Addressing the commonly overlooked hazards relating to unstable and unmanned points of access to a ship can help to drastically reduce the estimated 43% reported maritime injuries resulting from slip and fall injuries onboard (Occupational Safety and Health Association, OSHA).

Felicia found the event highly informative. “I would like to thank the American Club for hosting such an enlightening discussion, and for inviting The Bahamas Maritime Authority to the table. I very much appreciated the opportunity to discuss these vital concerns with so many experts. “