Person overboard from container vessel Varmland with loss of 1 life

Location: Hamburg, Germany.

Completed PE Summary: Varmland

Registered Owner & Manager:   Stena Line Ltd
Port of registry:   London
Flag:   UK
Type:   Container vessel
Built:   2003
Classification society:   Germanischer Lloyd
Construction:   Steel
Length overall:   132.3
Gross tonnage:   6434.00
Date & Time   23/11/05 03:22
Location of incident:   Hamburg 5333.0N 00958.0E
Incident Type:   Accident to Person
Persons onboard:   13 crew
Injuries/ fatalities:   One fatality
Damage/ Pollution:   None


An able seaman fell overboard from the upper platform of the ship’s starboard accommodation ladder when in port. The height of the rope protection around the ladder was 65cm. The seaman hit a large berthing fender as he fell 8m to the water below, and although he was initially visible, he soon disappeared. He is missing presumed dead.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the owner of Varmland commending the remedial action already taken, and also recommending that the company:

  • Reviews its Safety Management Systems with particular regard to the safety of persons working aloft, or over the ship’s side, and the need to sound the vessel’s general alarm following an emergency, when a muster or the assistance of the ship’s crew may be urgently required.

A further recommendation has been made to the ship’s classification society with the purpose of highlighting to other classification societies via the International Association of Classification Societies, the need to pay particular attention to the heights of guardrails at the interface between accommodation ladders and access decks.

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