The importance of wire rope maintenance is sometimes overlooked. However, the fall of a rescue boat from the oil products tanker, TORM MAREN, off the coast of Guinea on April 1st, 2020, sheds some light on the importance of wire rope maintenance.
On April 1, 2020, TOM MAREN was located near the coast of Guinea. A rescue boat drill was conducted, and the rescue boat was lowered with three people on board. After sailing for about an hour and a half, the rescue boat was brought alongside TOM MAREN and was hoisted to deck level. As the rescue boat reached the deck level and the crew was about to bring it into the cradle, the boat fell back into the water from approximately 56 feet. All three people on board suffered serious injuries, but no one was killed.
The Danis Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB) has published its investigation report of the rescue boat’s fall.
A preliminary investigation found that the wire rope used to lift the boat was severely corroded. This corrosion caused the wire rope to the part during the retrieval of the rescue boat. However, the corroded wire rope was part of a more extensive system containing mechanical components, PMS, regulation, safety management system, and training regimes. Thus, the parting of the wire rope wasn’t the cause of the accident itself but was one condition which led to the accident. That accident required an investigation of the conditions leading to the deterioration of the wire rope.
The probe would allow a clearer understanding of why the rescue boat system’s man-riding capability ultimately failed, causing the boat to fall back into the ocean. The dependability of the rescue boat system’s man-riding ability was susceptible to single point failure and depended solely on an effective PMS. An analysis by the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board focused on why the company PMS was unable to prevent the wire rope from deteriorating.
The company’s PMS instructed the officers to inspect and keep up with wire rope maintenance. However, the officers who continuously inspected maintained, and operated the rescue boat system did not do so correctly, even when the wire rope was visible. However, the reason why the condition of the wire rope wasn’t recognized as being detrimental to the functionality of the rescue boat system was due to three factors:
- The manufacturer’s manual and PMS did NOT specify how to assess the condition of the wire rope.
- There was an absence of training in the assessment of the wire rope’s condition.
- The PMS activities were categorized, which meant that only one person was assessing each component.
In addition to these factors, the thorough assessment performed by service providers made the officers trust the load-bearing capability of the wire rope and the man-riding ability of the system overall.
Actions Taken to Prevent Accidents in the Future
After the accident, the company implemented several preventative measures to avert future similar accidents. Those measures included:
- Identifying minimum required certification for all wire ropes used for lifting appliances (this included dialogues with wire manufacturers to enhance guidance for inspecting, assessing, and discarding of life-saving appliance wire ropes.
- Learning engagement tool rolled out fleetwide to enhance the knowledge of the ship’s staff on wire rope maintenance (the tool has been developed in line with the company’s Safety Leadership Philosophy, which is aimed at enhancing the soft skills of seafarers)
- Reducing the renewal frequency to one year
- Enhancing the reporting of PMS job routines to bring out leading indicators and creating more barriers, such as photograph templates
- Reporting of Service providers that conduct annual examination has been aligned with the format used in the PMS routine to pick up leading indicators and create further barriers.
- Enhancing SMS procedures by including awareness of the single-point failure concept and the importance of its checks before engaging personnel on to these lifting equipment
- Working together with flag state to highlight the absence of mechanical redundancies in the systems such as brake, hook, wire rope at the industry level
Contact the Professionals
The accident that occurred aboard the TOM MAREN was catastrophic. It was also entirely preventable. Proper wire rope maintenance could have prevented the entire incident from occurring. At Silver State Wire Rope and Rigging, we take wire rope maintenance seriously, and so should you. Contact us today for all your wire rope needs.