Record all enclosed space deaths urges InterManager as two more workers die

As two more workers die in an enclosed space onboard a ship, InterManager has hit out at the shipping industry’s inadequate reporting of serious and fatal accidents.

Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General of InterManager, the international trade association for ship and crew managers, said: “Another two workers have died this month. They were two shore workers who apparently ‘entered the wrong space’ on a cargo ship and paid the ultimate price for their mistake.”

InterManager has been keeping statistics on incidents involving enclosed spaces since 1999, and during this period enclosed spaces have claimed the lives of 104 seafarers and 51 shore workers. However, Captain Szymanski fears these figures could be higher still and says he believes there is under-reporting by shipping authorities.

“The shipping industry is very slow in reporting accidents in enclosed spaces, as it also is with lifeboat incidents. Accident reports take ages even for Flag States rated as ‘excellent’. The IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) database is largely being ignored by Flag States. We have discovered that only 26% of enclosed space accidents were reported through GISIS – which means 74% were not reported at all !

“By not reporting accidents the shipping industry is not giving people the chance to properly investigate, understand and learn from them. This is potentially putting the lives of more seafarers and port workers in danger.”

Capt Szymanski urged the shipping industry to work harder to address the root causes of enclosed space accidents which InterManager has identified are particularly due to:
• Ship design
• Time pressure on workers
• Contradicting and confusing regulations.

InterManager is currently working with the members of the Human Element Industry Group (HEIG) to identify the biggest risk factors and potential solutions to minimise deaths and injuries in enclosed spaces.

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