Crewman falls to his death in bulk carrier’s cargo hold at St. Lawrence River anchorage

A crewmember on a bulk carrier was killed when he fell into an open empty hold while the ship was anchored in the St. Lawrence River.

The fatal accident occurred July 2 aboard the 731-foot Tian Bai Feng near Lanoraie, Quebec. 

On that afternoon, the master requested that the crew clean cargo holds 5, 6 and 7 in preparation for loading, said Steven Neatt, regional senior investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The third engineer and a cadet were assigned to hold No. 5, a fitter and an ordinary seaman to hold No. 6, and the chief engineer and an oiler to hold No. 7.

In hold No. 7, the chief engineer and oiler had finished their work and proceeded to do a security round in preparation to close the hatch covers. The chief engineer then proceeded to the control station in order to execute the maneuver.
In hold No. 6, the fitter and the ordinary seaman had finished their work and proceeded to exit the hold via the “booby hatch.” The ordinary seaman was the first one out and was followed by the fitter.
“When the ordinary seaman arrived on the main deck, he went to check if anyone was still working in hold No. 7,” Neatt said in an email to Professional Mariner. “At this time, the chief engineer was activating the chain system to close the hatch covers and the fitter was exiting the ‘booby hatch’ when he saw the ordinary seaman being projected into hold No. 7.”

Emergency crews extracted the ordinary seaman from the hold and he was later declared deceased.
The 39,042-gt Tian Bai Feng is owned by China Shipping (Hong Kong) Holdings Co., a subsidiary of China Shipping Group. The company did not reply to phone calls and emails directed to its corporate offices.

The voyage had begun on June 12. Tian Bai Feng left Brake, Germany, in ballast, and proceeded westward to Montreal with a stop in Falmouth, U.K., to take on fuel. The ship arrived at anchorage off Lanoraie on June 23.

After the accident and investigation, the vessel proceeded to the Port of Montreal to load a cargo of grain.

By Professional Mariner Staff