If you have a lifting problem, you have to get equipment quickly in place. Then work can rapidly and efficiently resume. Imagine the challenge if you are out in a tug on the rolling seas? This summer an incident at sea has prompted the Marine Safety Forum to issue a safety flash.
In poor weather conditions the Captain of a tug issued instructions to the crew to ensure the containers on deck were adequately secured using lashings chains. When the lashing chains were in position the deck crew decided to use the tug's winch to tighten the lashings chains.
As the tug tensioned up the chains a chain link snapped and a piece flew off smashing through the aft window of the bridge. The deck crew were fortunate and no one was injured or even killed.
Following an investigation a chain connection in the cargo lashing system was found to be homemade. It was 'an accident waiting to happen,' a piece of chain had been welded on to a stainless steel shackle. This was probably fashioned so the tug's winch could be quickly connected. The ship should have requested an enlarged link and connector. This would have ensured that the shackle link was appropriate for the task.
When using a winch all parts of the system and equipment must have a safe working load that is equal to or more than the safe working load of the winch. This can be easily obtained from equipment that carries clearly marked safe working load identification.
The main lesson from this incident is that home made equipment can never be tested and certified. They often fail sometimes with serious effect. It is essential to source all equipment from an appropriate supplier who can provide expert advice.
Resource from the LEEA website and the Marine Safety Forum.