Real Life Incident: Ship Accommodation Ladder Wire Rope Fails

A vessel had finished berthing and the deck crew were deploying the starboard accommodation ladder for shore access.

As the ladder was being lowered from its stowed position, the wire rope parted about two metres from its inboard end near the outrigger’s outboard guide sheave. The gangway fell and hung vertically along the ship’s side.

gangway ladder
Representation Image

Fortunately, no one was injured and the ladder was recovered and secured. The wire had been installed 29 months earlier and had recently been inspected with no defects found. It was also reported that all rollers and moving fittings were able to turn freely without any signs of defects.

The company’s post-incident investigation found that the wire’s external condition appeared good. However, its internal condition was found to be poor, with corrosion evident.

Lessons learned

  • Inspecting wire rope for internal defects is especially difficult but can be achieved in many cases by opening the strands with a marlinspike.
  • Particular attention should be given to splices and any ‘hidden’ points of the wire ropes, such as in the rollers, especially at points where little or no movement takes place under normal usage.


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