OCIMF issues new guidelines on personnel transfers

A new guidance has been issued by Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) on transferring personnel by crane between vessels. The guide outlines the risks involved in such transfers; it provides best practice on the right equipment to use and how to do so safely.

A web alert from North of England Club noted that, in the offshore industry, cranes used for personnel transfer were certified for “man riding”. However a similar safety focus had not been evident in the shipping world, despite the risks and dangers being the same.

Loss prevention executive John Southam observed that there had previously been no restriction preventing the transfer of several persons at a time on any available ship’s crane, regardless of its design. There had also been a notable complacency with regard to the dangers involved in such operation by ships’ crews, the alert claimed.

OCIMF had provided several recommendations on crane requirements:

·       The crane should be located on the parallel mid-body

·       The safe working load (SWL) should be reduced by 50% when carrying people

·       A wire safety factor of 10:1

·       The crane’s brakes should automatically activate when in neutral, or the emergency stop is activated or in the event of power failure

·       Brakes should have a manual override

·       The hook should be fitted with a positive locking safety latch

·       Cranes should have emergency means of recovery from any position

The guide has made a series of important recommendations surrounding the design of the Personnel Transfer Baskets (PTB). These included:

·       The PTB should be fully certified and meet Flag State and classification society requirements

·       The SWL (or capacity) and empty weight are clearly marked

·       The PTB should be rigid, able to float and be self-righting

OCIMF stressed the importance of a well-planned inspection programme that was incorporated into planned maintenance and safety management systems.

This included the crew’s pre-use checks which should be conducted before every transfer operation. Contingency plans should be in place for personnel transfer; subject to the appropriate risk assessment, this would include the provision of any safety equipment that may be required in the event of an incident.

Guidance on crew training highlighted the need for crewmembers with key roles and those being transferred to be sufficiently knowledgeable.

The OCIMF guide is aimed at tanker operators, but North said that the best practice advice could apply to any type of vessel that carried out transfers of personnel.

The OCIMF guide ‘Transfer of Personnel by Crane between Vessels’ can be downloaded at: bit.ly/2SWno5e.