Sharks Jaws and Anchor Handling – Jackie’s Back In Town

Not, not the sort of shark jaws people hang on their walls. The Marine Safety Forum has issued the following safety alert with a little snap.

Serious Injury to an AB During Anchor Handling

A vessel was close alongside a rig, assisting in the recovery of a rig chain which had been lost when the rig PCP parted during anchor handling operations. The original PCP which parted was in very poor condition and had not been properly inspected as per the rig owner’s and the oil company’s procedures.

The rig had passed the vessel a short PCP with a J lock attached to the chain being recovered. The vessel was being manoeuvred in DP using a satellite reference system, whereas the rig was moored by only two anchors and therefore its position was dynamic and liable to movement.

Whilst the crew were connecting this PCP to the ship’s work wire, the rig instructed the vessel to move clear as it was considered too close. The OOW advised the deck crew he was going to move the ship but did not send them to a safe haven which is the usual practice and is a control measure in the ship’s risk assessment for the work.

The socket, which was held in the sharks jaw, came under extreme tension. This resulted in small pieces of socket metal flying off and severely injuring a seaman who was close by in the arm and leg.

The most feasible explanation for excessive tension was that the J lock caught on the rig bolster coupled to use of a short pendant, the rig draft at the time and a change of position of the vessel relative to the rig. Neither the rig nor the ship had carried a proper risk assessment to identify this hazard in the operation.

Lessons learned:
• Written procedures and risk assessments should be known and followed.

• Crew should never be allowed to be at the sharks jaw working on a connection when th  ship is intentionally moved.

• If DP is used to manoeuvre a vessel alongside a rig, the operations should be subject to a risk assessment. Satellite reference systems should never be used if the rig is liable to move, for example when partially moored. A relative reference system should be used. Officers should be trained in the use and suitability of reference systems.

• When a planned operation changes for whatever reason, all parties should stop work and carry out a new risk assessment.

• To avoid risk to the deck crew it is preferable that PCPs are sent down with chain links fitted for securing in sharks jaws (as per NWEA Guidelines Annex N).

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