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When cleaning the holds on a dry loader, the chief mate and an able seaman were going to open some covers to the holds with the help of a cover crane. The crane moves on a track alongside the ship and is operated from the top of the crane on the starboard side. There is always a crew hand on the port side of the crane since the view from the operating position is limited. In this case the crane was being operated by the chief mate. The able seaman stood on the port side by the underside of the crane and moved along with it. As the crane approached the position for lifting, the chief mate noticed that the crane slowed down on the port side. When he stopped the crane he heard the able seaman scream with pain. The chief mate reversed the crane immediately and ran down to see what had happened. The seaman had got his leg stuck between the cover crane and the foundation of one of the ship’s cargo cranes. His leg was broken and bleeding heavily. The crew managed to carry the injured man onto the deck where an ambulance boat could fetch him for transport to hospital. The man underwent two operations on his leg and will recover well. The crew had probably carried out the job according to normal procedures, although the seaman was obviously in a very risky and unprotected place. There is always a risk of becoming accustomed to things that are done frequently, even though they are hazardous. People are not always alert and it is easy to miss obvious risks. This type of accident can best be avoided through careful preparation, a good dialogue with colleagues and making sure you discuss risks and consequences.

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