Port of Algeciras, Spain witnessed a tragic death of a seafarer on 4th May (Tuesday ), at 2 am early in the morning. This Incident happened when the Maltese-flagged, Suezmax oil tanker Bordeira, after completing the MB cargo operation was standing still on the port’s anchorage area for crew change protocols to take place. While the seafarers were boarding the tanker through pilot ladders, one of the three commencing seafarers fell into the water.
The Port of Algeciras soon responded to the catastrophe and sent in the pilot boat – The pilot of Getares to rescue the crew member. As soon as the boat reached the site of mishappening, one man dove himself into the ocean floor to rescue the seafarer. The quick reflex of the Port authority made the rescue operation successful as he was still breathing and conscious. He was taken to the district of Saladillo dock, from where he was made to reach the Punta Europe local hospital through an ambulance.
The man had no ill medical background except him being hypothermic, neither did he suffer any serious damage during the accident but died the moment he hit the hospital bed. A broken arm was reported, but the exact reason for the casualty is still unknown.
A statement from Algeciras control center reported that they received a call from the service vessel “Picasso I”, saying that a man had fallen into the water from the oil tanker “Bordeira”, with the “Salvamar Denébola” and the auxiliary “Luz de Mar” both being mobilized to the scene.
This is not the first accident taking place regarding the use of pilot ladders, they are now considered a persistent problem in the Maritime Industry. The consistency which the pilot ladders provide you, in terms of life-threatening risks are concerned, are of no match. The lifeboat drills and underway boardings are constantly evolving but the problem lies in the use of pilot ladders, as in case of emergencies pilot ladders are the only alternative to disembark or embark the ship.
Pilot ladders are considered as highly specified rope ladders, which as the name suggests are used by the pilots to board a cargo vessel. Alteration in the design of these pilot ladders is not possible, as it is highly specified by the international regulations coming under the SOLAS regime. Pilots are assigned for vessels passing through different transits to accommodate the vessel and guide the captain to a smooth exit. With the onset of Industry 4.0 into the Maritime, a solution for all the pilot ladder-related problems is to be surely found.
An investigation team is dislodged into the site of casualty by the concerning authorities to analyze the strange death of the man, after the locals claimed that the man got tangled in the ladder and got stuck which might have made him struggle hard, leading him to death by aiding his hypothermia.
The tanker is at a halt in the Port of Algeciras for inspection. The exact cause of the casualty will be determined soon, and people won’t be surprised if it's again due to the inappropriate furnishing of the Pilot ladder.