Several factors contributed to fatality on Teal Bay, says MAIB

In its just-published report on a fatal mooring deck incident on general cargo ship Teal Bay (IMO 9343637) on August 30th 2021, the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said that a number of factors had contributed to the death of the chief officer.

  • Teal Bay’s C/O was struck on the head and fatally injured by a tensioned mooring line when it sprang out of a roller fairlead and snapped tight.
  • The mooring line sprang free because the fairlead in use was open and the lines had developed a hazardous upward lead during STS cargo operations as the difference between the vessels’ freeboard increased.
  • Leading two lines through the same fairlead restricted the space available and almost certainly contributed to the loss of spring line 1 containment.
  • The number of crew assigned to carry out the warping operation was insufficient and almost certainly influenced the C/O’s decision, which went unchallenged, to stand in a hazardous area.
  • There was insufficient planning for both the mooring and the warping; this happened because, for both evolutions, there was a lack of time available to plan and the crew was unfamiliar with STS bulk cargo operations.
  • Despite the crew’s efforts and the assistance of the tug Dobrynya, it took more than two hours for the casualty to be seen by a medical professional. Given the severity of his injuries, it is unknown whether the delays in the C/O receiving medical attention had any bearing on his death; however, the lack of coordination by the parties involved in organising the medical response created delays that lessened his chances of survival.

Teal Bay was loading grain when moored alongside an anchored bulk carrier, the Kavkaz V (IMO 9104574). The mooring line was being used to pull Teal Bay forward and it sprang free when its lead angle became too great for the open fairlead to restrain it.

The accident occurred at the Kavkaz anchorage in Russia when the Isle of Man registered open hatch general cargo ship Teal Bay was moored alongside an anchored bulk carrier, which was acting as a grain storage vessel, carrying out ship-to-ship (STS) loading operations.

Teal Bay was an Isle of Man registered 177.13m general cargo vessel. Kavkaz V was a Liberian registered 185.74m bulk carrier, operated by a Russian crew.

Teal Bay’s 20 crew were Ukrainian nationals who all held appropriate qualifications for their roles. The C/O, Yuriy Maslov, was a 54-year-old experienced seafarer and had been with the company for over 20 years. He was wearing shorts, a T-shirt, safety boots, gloves and a hard hat. On the day of the accident, his record of work and rest showed that he had worked from 0600 to 1000 and then from 1700 onwards.

When acting as a storage vessel at anchor, Kavkaz V’s cargo holds were loaded with grain from river barges. The grain was then discharged into other vessels moored alongside for onward transport (Figure 3). Teal Bay’s crew had not loaded cargo in this way before and, until the pilot boarded and informed him of the loading arrangements, the master was expecting to load grain directly from barges while at anchor.

The investigation found that the use of an open fairlead was inappropriate during the transfer of cargo where a freeboard differential created the hazard of an upward lead on the mooring lines. The chief officer was struck because he was standing in a hazardous area close to a tensioned mooring line and the operation to move Teal Bay forward was attempted with insufficient crew and had not been risk assessed.

The MAIB conducted the investigation on behalf of the Isle of Man Ship Registry.

2007-built, Isle of Man-flagged, 20,236 gt Teal Bay is owned by Arsos Shipping SA care of manager Pioneer Marine Advisers Pte Ltd of Singapore. ISM manager is Pioneer Marine Hellas SA of Athens, Greece. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Arsos Shipping SA.

1995-built, Liberia-flagged, 26,059 gt Kavkaz V is owned by Kavkaz V Ltd care of manager LLC Aston Enterprise Agency of Rostov-na-Donu, Russia. It is entered with American Club on behalf of Kavkaz V Ltd.