At 1800 on Sunday 17 February 2002, the bulk carrier CSL Pacific sailed from Melbourne after discharging a cargo of furnace slag. The ship was bound for Adelaide to load a cargo of powdered cement.
At 0750 on Monday morning, the chief engineer, deck mechanic and deck fitters met to discuss their major work for the day which was to repair some of the buckets on number one bucket elevator.
Prior to starting work, the deck mechanic went to number one control room and checked that the circuit breaker for the main electric motor on the bucket elevator was open. He did not place a danger tag on the circuit breaker.
The same morning, the boatswain and seamen had started to prepare cargo holds one and two to receive the powdered cement cargo in Adelaide. The seamen were sweeping the residue of the slag cargo from the bottom of the holds into the bucket elevators. This work was being performed under the supervision of the mate who was periodically running number two bucket elevator for short periods to provide the men with empty buckets to fill.
At about 1100, the boatswain, working in the bottom of number two hold, requested that the mate rotate number two bucket elevator. At this time a deck fitter was working inside the top of number one bucket elevator. He was lying with his torso inside the bucket with one foot resting on one of the drive chains as he was welding.
The mate went to number two control room and ran the bucket elevator for a couple of seconds. He then went to number one control room to check on the cleaning in number one hold. While there he decided to run the bucket elevator to provide an empty bucket for the man working there and went to the circuit breaker for the drive motor. Finding no danger tag, he closed the breaker and then ran the motor for 2-3 seconds. Although he had been told about it earlier, he had forgotten about the work being performed at the top of number one bucket elevator.
The fitter welding inside the bucket elevator sustained serious injuries when the bucket elevator moved. His right hip had been dislocated, his pelvis and a vertebrae had been fractured, two ribs were broken and he had some ligament damage in the groin area.
Help was quickly at hand and the injured fitter was lifted out of the bucket elevator and taken on a stretcher to the ship's hospital where he was examined by the second mate. It was evident that the fitter's injuries were serious. The master organised a telephone consultation with a surgeon from the Royal Adelaide Hospital who advised him to land the fitter as soon as possible. After speaking to the ship's manager and the Adelaide agent the decision was made to divert the ship to Portland, Victoria.
CSL Pacific arrived off Portland at 1740. At 1800 the injured fitter was transferred to a pilot launch and then to Portland base hospital. The deck fitter spent the next six weeks in Portland base hospital recovering from his injuries before being repatriated on 2 April 2002.
|Date:||18 February 2002||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Release date:||17 February 2003|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Highest injury level:||Serious|
|Type of operation||Bulk carrier|
|Damage to vessel||Nil|
|Departure point||Melbourne, Vic|