A pilot was about to board a tugboat in the evening, but due to high winds and seas it was decided that the boarding should take place before the normal boarding position. On this occasion the usual pilot boat was not being used, which made conditions more difficult with poorer visibility from the bridge of the pilot boat.
This, together with the somewhat poor conditions for holding onto the boarding rail in combination with the tugboat’s inward sloping bulwark and the lack of a pilot’s ladder or other boarding arrangement, meant that the pilot stepped onto the outer side of the tugboat’s bulwark. The waves caused the pilot boat’s fender to ride above the tugboat’s fender instead of underneath it, and the pilot’s leg was crushed between the two. As soon as the boats were separated a seaman on the tugboat was able to help the pilot onboard. The pilot sustained serious injuries.
The investigation shows that poor boarding arrangements and a poor view from the pilot boat’s bridge in combination with relatively bad weather conditions with swell and slippery surfaces were important factors in the sequence of events. Vessels with inwardly sloping bulwarks or poor boarding arrangements are recommended to review these and compensate for any deficiencies. In this specific case, for example, a boarding rail that reached further wingwards from the boat could have prevented the accident.
Iu dnr 080201-08-20686