Dispatatches No. 438

InterManager survey reveals widespread concern at enclosed space deaths

Seafarers and dock workers are still dying while working in enclosed spaces onboard vessels because there is not enough understanding throughout the shipping industry of the risks faced by today’s seafarers. Dangerous timeframes are imposed for hazardous tasks and safety improvements do not happen because shipping industry investigations encourage a ‘blame culture’ – according to shipmanagement trade association InterManager which has revealed the findings of its comprehensive industry survey into the problems of enclosed spaces.

A large range of vessel operators, managers and crew took part in the three month-long industry-wide survey, with crew from almost 250 ships providing feedback – representing more than 5,000 seafarers.

Key concerns included a perceived lack of improvement in the design of vessels with not enough consideration being given to access areas and the people working in them. As well as being hard to reach, enclosed spaces are frequently impossible to properly ventilate or to measure the atmosphere in, the respondents said.

Unrealistically tight timeframes for cargo hold and tank preparation were likened to “bullying on an industrial scale” with seafarers calling on ship managers to shield them from unrealistic commercial time pressures.

Seafarers asked for more training, prioritisation of management-led safety cultures, and suggested using the “fear factor” to raise awareness of the dangers of working in enclosed spaces. In fact, respondents recommended changing the phrase to “dangerous space” or even “fatal space” to hit the message home.

In addition, the survey revealed a wide-spread belief that a blame culture is deeply rooted within the shipping industry. Respondents felt that the majority of accident investigations stop at finding the ‘guilty party’ and very rarely go further to discover why the accident occurred or what were the reasons for the actions of those killed or injured.

The survey revealed a feeling that accident investigation results are inconsistent, indicating that the absence of a standard investigation format prevents a proper and thorough analysis of accidents and the ready identification of potential improvements.

In addition to outlining the problems, the survey asked recipients to identify potential solutions to avoid further deaths. Seafarers responding called for clearer identification of hazardous spaces, suggesting access should be restricted by senior management onboard or ashore.

A need was identified for additional training to address lack of awareness and instill safe practices, while some seafarers said they would prefer to only access enclosed spaces while using safety equipment such as Emergency Escape Breathing Devices (EEBDs) or Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCABs). Some respondents believed that technology should be used to help with limiting the requirement for human access in enclosed spaces.

Focusing on vessel design, recipients advised that future newbuildings should avoid areas of enclosed space or restrict them to a minimum. In addition, any enclosed spaces should include provisions for:

  • adequate ventilation (whole space)
  • adequate fixed gas detection systems
  • accessibility for humans in order to perform search and rescue operations.

Announcing the results of the survey, which was conducted at the end of 2018, InterManager Secretary General, Captain Kuba Szymanski, said: “It is clear that much still needs to be done to address the issues of working in enclosed spaces and to eradicate the risk to life. No-one should die while carrying out their daily work.

“Seafarers seem to believe that this unsafe environment is created by designers and enforced by manuals and procedures, and therefore cannot be disputed and has to be followed – even if it results in death,” he said.

Many seafarers responding to the InterManager survey expressed dismay at the situation. Capt. Szymanski commented: “It is rather sad to see so many seafarers losing hope that their situation will ever improve. As a result the suggestions from those individuals do not stretch beyond improving training and procedures.”

Encouraging ship managers to take a lead on safety, Capt Szymanski remarked: “When I examined the results of the survey, I noticed that the most positive responses came from within companies where senior managers took a leading role on safety matters, where they engaged themselves and led from the front. I would especially like to thank those individuals, because it is them who are creating the company safety culture.”

Pledging further action, he concluded: “InterManager thanks all those who responded to our survey and promises to do all we can to raise awareness of these issues at the highest level.”



Last week:

Administration work

Enclose Space Project – concluding findings, discussing with Safety Committee

Working on speakers for https://www.forum.gdynia.pl/en/

29th April 2019 – 03rd May 2019 IMO Meeting HTW 6 – Capt. Paddy McKnight representing InterManager. VP George Hoyt making a presentation. Full report available from: https://www.intermanager.org/category/imo-updates/



This Week:

Enclosed Space Project – Press release

Working on speakers for https://www.forum.gdynia.pl/en/

Administration work

Paperless Ship Project – Administration


Looking forward:

The Japanese Government (MLIT) is organising the Seminar on Ship Recycling (Friday, 10 May 2019, in the IMO Headquarters, London) at IMO building from 14:00 of 10 May (registration to be started at 13:30) in order to increase international awareness of the importance of the early entry into force of the HKC (this year is the 10th anniversary of the HKC!!). – Capt. Paddy McKnight representing InterManager


There is an exclusive 20% discount available for InterManager members attending the CruiseConnect Europe Summit, 29-30 May 2019, Alexandra Hotel Barcelona.

Dedicated to crew recruitment, training and retention for cruise, the summit will provide strategic advice on how best to recruit and retain talent in the coming years, covering aspects such as multi-cultural training, building a talent pipeline, technology and delivery of customer service in a culture of safety on board, and plenty more.

You will hear from and network with influential figures representing the largest cruise lines, associations and training providers including:

  • Magali Bertolucci, Director of Crew Development & Strategy, MSC Cruises
  • Nico Corbjin, Vice President, Crew Management, MSC HR
  • Douglas Diggle, Founder/ CEO, Cruise Shipping Association/ Across Oceans Group
  • Lena Dyring, Assistant Director, Cruise Operations, Norwegian Seafarers’ Union
  • Roger Harris, Executive Director, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network
  • Antonella Varbaro, Fleet Hotel Human Resources Director, Costa Crociere
  • Drew Howell, Director Talent Acquisition & Workforce Management, Holland America Group
  • Henriette Bodenham, Operations Manager, South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA)


Take a look at the full agenda and speaker line-up here.

Register online using Intermanager’s exclusive promo code FKT3624IM to save 20% on your place.

Register as a group – the third and subsequent delegates in a group booking will receive a 50% discount in addition to the Intermanager’s discount of 20%.

Need assistance? Contact the event team at maritimeintegrity@knect365.com or call on +44 (0) 20 7017 5511.


9 June 2019  – IMO Sunday Golf Day – Capt. Paddy McKnight representing InterManager


Following a message from BIMCO notifying our members about a planned symposium on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which is scheduled to take place on 4 June 2019 in Committee room 11 – 13, IMO Headquarters, 4 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7SR. The aim of this event is to bring together regional and national authorities, industry and NGOs’ to discuss the situation and offer solutions to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

The symposium, which is organized by BIMCO, ICS, ITF and OCIMF, is free of charge and takes place on the day before the 101st meeting of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee. Feel free to forward the message to interested persons in your network.

If you have any questions or experience difficulties using this link to register: https://events.bimco.org/eventlist/GoG2019 please do not hesitate to contact security@bimco.org.

Kind regards

Angus R. Frew

Secretary General & CEO


Seafarers UK 24 Peaks Challenge, 6-7 July

For one of the toughest, most exhilarating and empowering corporate events, Seafarers UK is recruiting teams of four-seven walkers, plus a support driver per team, for the charity’s 2019 fundraising event in July. Teams need a good base level of fitness and a commitment to training, including steep hill hiking to prepare for the two 10-14 hour back-to-back days. To contribute towards vital funding to support seafarers, every team pledges to raise a minimum of £4,000 through fundraising. Every team member receives a T-shirt, medal and great support for their preparation and fundraising, both in the build-up to the event and during the exciting weekend. After this fantastic team-building and truly challenging event, team meetings will never be the same! Does your organisation have what it takes?


Email: marie.robson@seafarers.uk

DD: 020 7932 5960

Mob: 07795 065441



The Loch Ness Challenge – 28th August – 2nd September 2019


Paddling 60 miles in 4 days, teams of 2 from the shipping industry in an open topped canoe along the great glen way, which includes Loch Ness.

Participants will camp along the shores getting back to basics, no experience necessary.


Registration £100

Minimum fundraising amount £1250 pp

Video advert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFiI3DGup6g


Ride London 100 – 4th August – poster attached

We’re looking for cyclists to join our fundraising team this August to cycle 100 miles across London and into Surrey.


Registration £100

Minimum sponsorship £400

Video advert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNuucDNep9A


Mt Kilimanjaro August 2020

We are taking on this giant of the world in August 2020 and looking for participants now so training can begin and to build a good plan for fundraising.

This is certainly one of life’s achievements and will not be forgotten easily!


Minimum sponsorship amount £5000

Brochure and video being created.


I hope you’re well, and join me in a canoe or a trek maybe?

Kindest regards

Rebecca Bridgen

Events Fundraiser

Sailors’ Society

+ 44 7712 404130



Brgds Kuba

Capt. Kuba Szymanski

Secretary General

Mob: +44 7624 498 266



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