MAIB: Alcohol May Have Led to PLA Pilot’s Fatal Fall

Image Courtesy: MAIB

Alcohol consumption is likely to have contributed to an accident during cargo vessel boarding in October 2016, which led to the loss of life of a Port of London Authority (PLA) sea pilot, according to a report by Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

On October 5 the pilot Gordon Coates was attempting to board the Bahamas-registered general cargo vessel Sunmi from the pilot launch Patrol when he fell and was crushed between the two vessels. Despite prompt medical attention, he died at the scene.

The accident occurred during a routine changeover of pilots at Gravesend Reach pilot boarding station on the River Thames, which marked the boundary for two pilotage areas within the Port of London. Due to the choppy seas, the outbound general cargo vessel had created a lee for the pilot launch to facilitate the boarding process.

The diference in freeboard between the two vessels was varying between about 30cm and 130cm. A pilot ladder had been rigged, but the sea pilot attempted to board by stepping up and through an open gate in the railings onto Sunmi’s main deck which, although adjacent to the ladder, did not form part of the vessel’s designated pilot boarding arrangements.

The MAIB investigation could not establish whether the fall was a result of the sea pilot’s use of Sunmi’s deck gate, a problem with his knee following recent surgery, loss of co-ordination due to his blood alcohol content being more than double the prescribed limit, or a combination of all three.

However, but before boarding Patrol Coates had consumed a signifcant quantity of alcohol which would have impaired both his physical co-ordination and his decision-making ability, MAIB informed.

“Given the circumstances of the accident, it is not possible to state whether his consumption of alcohol was causal. However, given the challenging nature of the transfer, it is likely that it was contributory.”

Recommendations have been made to the International Maritime Pilots’ Association aimed at improving the awareness of the requirements for gateways in bulwarks and railings intended for pilot boarding operations, and Sunmi’s managers, aimed at ensuring that designated pilot boarding areas are marked and that pilot boarding operations are overseen by a responsible officer.

Share this article

Follow World Maritime News

In Depth>

Events>

<< Jan 2018 >>
MTWTFSS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4

APM – ASIA PACIFIC MARITIME 2018

27 years in the making, APM is the premier shipbuilding & marine, workboat and offshore exhibition in Asia trusted by generations of industry professionals.

read more >

Mega Cargo Show 2018

The focus of the event is to bring all connected with cargo fraternity on a single platform…

read more >

Vietship 2018

Vietship is the largest and longest established exhibition in Vietnam featuring all aspect of Shipbuilding, Shipping and Offshore Technology.

Since its first event in 2002, Vietship has become the convergence and platform of advanced technologies regional and worldwide in shipbuilding and ship repair, marine equipment, waterway transportation and services, marine and offshore engineering.

After 16 years of eight consecutive editions, Vietship has affirm itself as an important event in enhancing cooperation and development, attracting investments, exchanging technology and creating ideal opportunities for trade promotion in the international maritime industry.

More info

read more >

LNG Bunkering Summit 2018

The conference will cover the obstacles facing both the shipping and port communities, exploring developments in conversion and new builds…

read more >