MSF Safety Flash

Marine Safety Forum – Safety Flash 07-29
Issued: 25th November 2007
Subject: Ships’ Access in Harbours
In the course of briefing AHVs chartered to support a recent rig move, consultants acting
on behalf of an oil company had to visit several vessels berthed as the ‘second out’. This
often involved negotiating means of access, the safety of which was questionable.
Potential hazards included:
• Excessively steep and/or unsecured bulwark access steps
• Slippery/wet scuppers in way of steps
• Narrow gangways with no hand rails
• Gangway/steps not in same axis, requiring side step
• Bump hazards in way of steps
It is required by law that vessels should have a safe means of access. The Maritime and
Coastguard Agency in the UK offers excellent advice on what is a safe means of access in
the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen. In particular, Chapters 6 and
18 spell out what is deemed necessary.

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