USCG issues safety alert after accommodation ladder failure

The US Coast Guard Office of Investigations and Analysis has released Marine Safety Alert 05-21, to notify mariners to a potentially dangerous situation involving corrosion of the turntable pin on accommodation ladders.

The US Coast Guard Office of Investigations and Analysis has released Marine Safety Alert 05-21, to notify mariners to a potentially dangerous situation involving corrosion of the turntable pin on accommodation ladders.

A recent marine casualty resulting in an injury of a crewmember onboard a foreign merchant vessel brought to light a potentially dangerous situation involving the turntable pin on accommodation ladders. Currently, there are no established timelines or requirements to replace turntable pins. But without proper and periodic examination and replacement, corrosion can ultimately lead to structural failure.

After the incident, the Coast Guard noted that multiple foreign flag vessels had accommodation ladder turntable pins in service for more than 20 years without replacement. Guidelines on the maintenance of accommodation ladders is contained within 74 SOLAS (14) II-1/3-9, MSC.1/Circ. 1331, and 74 SOLAS (14) III/20.7.2; however, none of these include maintenance guidelines for the turntable pins.

While the turntable pin may seem like a minor component, its failure can cause significant harm to all persons using the accommodation ladder. In this instance, the vessel’s crew was in the process of stowing the accommodation ladder when the turntable pin failed. As a result, a crewmember who was on the accommodation ladder at the time fell approximately 30 feet and sustained serious injuries.

The USCG strongly recommends that vessel owners and operators:

  • Maintain the turntable pins.
  • Periodically inspect the condition of the turntable pins and replace then when necessary.
  • Revise accommodation ladder maintenance plans to include turntable pins.
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