Safety Bulletin: Safe Access to Vessels

Safe Access to Vessels

Members are advised to comply with Marine Orders at all times when accessing vessels.

What you need to know:
1. The master to provide a safe means of access to the vessel. Safe means of access means a gangway or cargo ramp as defined in Schedule 9 of MO21. A safe means of access must be in place at all times when accessing the vessel.
2. Cellular container ships must have at least one safe means of access to the cargo space at all times: MO32 Schedule 2 section 6.
3. Other types of ships built after 1 Aug 1998 must have at least two safe means of access to the cargo space: MO32 schedule 2 section 7.
4. A personnel cradle may be used to access containers in some circumstances. For example, to access to top a container. See MO32 Schedule 2 section 8. But this does not take away the requirement for the gangway to be in place at all times. Members should stay inside the cage, wear a harness

Offence: accessing vessels in contravention of Marine Orders

Members are reminded: it is an offence to access a vessel, or authorize another person to board or leave a vessel on foot, other than as prescribed in Marine Orders. See sections 17.1(d) and 23 of Marine Order 32 and section 67 of Marine Order 21.

Cranes and man cages: what do Marine Orders say?

Personnel cages must not be used to access vessel before gangway is secure.
Putting personnel onto a vessel using mancages, before the gangway is secure, leaves workers without any form of safe access and egress from the vessel. It contravenes Marine Orders is not a safe practice. Under Marine Orders, safe means of access and egress must be in place at all times.

When can a personnel cage be used?

Under marine orders, it is permitted to use a personnel cradle (cage) to access containers in some instances – such as accessing the top of a container: see MO32 Schedule 2 section 8. Workers should remain in the cage and wear a harness. Note – this does not take away the requirement for the gangway to be in place at all times.
Additional rules for using man cages
Schedule 3 of Marine Order 32 sets out many requirements if a crane is being used to lift a personnel cage.

A crane must not be used to lift a personnel cage unless it is fitted with:
1. an effective ‘dead man’ control system that automatically stops crane operation in the event of the crane driver becoming incapacitated, otherwise a second driver must stationed in or near the driving control cabin ready to take over the controls in an emergency; and
2. motion-limiting devices, that automatically interrupt operating power and hold the crane and its load stationary in the event of failure of operating controls for hoisting, lowering, luffing or slewing; and
3. a clearly identified emergency stop control, situated in a readily accessible position which, when activated, interrupts the operating power so that the hoisting, lowering, luffing and slewing machinery is held stationary.
4. Also, the crane must be demonstrated to be safe. Unless the crane has been in use for loading or unloading immediately prior to hoisting a personnel cradle, it is demonstrated to be safe for the purpose by hoisting a load at least equal to twice the designed gross operating mass of the cradle.

Note: very few, if any, ships cranes will satisfy these rules.
See Marine Orders 32 and 21 for more information.

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