Real Life Accident: Modified Hull Magnets Cause Concussion

While boarding a vessel a pilot suffered a concussion; a modified embarkation ladder hull magnet device disconnected from the ship’s hull and struck him on the head. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Incidents with injuries have occurred on other vessels at several different ports. In each of those instances the hull magnets had been modified prior to the accident.

Moreover, in all cases, after restoring the hull magnets to their original design no further problems were experienced. Hull magnets are easy to operate devices and when two of them are positioned correctly they provide substantial holding force.



The handle of the magnet is also a lever and enables easy release from the hull of the vessel.


Proper use of the magnets is shown in the image below left. In the incidents where the magnets unexpectedly detached from the hull, only one securing magnet was used, placed between the rails of the ladder and alterations (remote release device) that deviated from the manufacturer’s design had been made (image below right).

Lessons Learned

Specialised embarkation equipment should be used as per manufacturer’s instructions and should never be modified other than under manufacturer’s specifications. Regular inspections of existing vessel boarding equipment should be carried out and any improper modifications returned to the manufacturer’s original design.


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