Fall from height on barge carrier/lighter aboard ship Spruce with 1 person injured

Location: Victoria Docks, Hartlepool, England.

Accident Investigation Report 27/2006

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

Spruce.pdf (1,842.32 kb)


At 1718 UTC, on 6 March 2006, the cook of the LASH vessel Spruce sustained serious injuries to his left leg and left pelvis as the result of a fall of 6m from the ship’s deck into the empty barge hold. These injuries required several operations, and it was 6 weeks before he was fit enough to be repatriated. It was estimated that it would be an additional 6 months before he would be fit to return to work on board ship.

Safety Issues

  • there was no supervisor assigned, and no single person was in overall charge of the operation to bring on board and stow the gangway
  • the on board training given to completely untrained and inexperienced personnel, particularly in respect of mooring operations, was inadequate
  • the application form for a safe manning certificate used by the Marshall Islands and some administrations’ flag asks for only basic dimensional information about the vessel. This is insufficient for the administration to assess reasonable levels of safe manning


Recommendations have been made jointly to the Marshall Islands Marine Administration, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to take forward at IMO an initiative aimed at improving the assessment of levels of minimum safe manning and defining the requirements associated with Inter-Departmental Flexibility

This report was published on 18 October 2006.

Published 23 January 2015