Person overboard from container vessel Dette G during cargo operations with loss of 1 life

Location: Queen Elizabeth Dock, Hull, England.

Accident Investigation Report 11/2012

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

DetteG.pdf (770.51 kb)


At 2309 (UTC) on 16 January 2012, an able seaman (AB) on board the Antigua & Barbuda registered container ship Dette G died as a result of falling overboard during cargo operations while the vessel was moored alongside Queen Elizabeth Dock in Hull, UK. The AB fell into a narrow gap between the vessel and the quay when disembarking from the vessel through a pilot gate. He quickly disappeared from view and his body was not recovered from the water until the following morning.

Safety Issues

  • although not an authorised means of access, the pilot gate was occasionally used by the crew when the vessel was alongside
  • the dangers of using the pilot gate increased as the cargo unloading operations progressed and the vessel’s freeboard increased
  • the deceased probably lost his balance or slipped
  • the use of the pilot gate instead of the accommodation ladder was a significant shortcut that might have appeared to be safe to use, consequently, some of the crew had probably developed a complacent attitude towards its use


The action taken following the accident by the ship’s manager, the container terminal operator and the port authority should help prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future. Therefore, we have not made any recommendations on this occasion.

This report was published on 17 May 2012.

Published 23 January 2015