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Industry focus on tragedy of enclosed space deaths

Photo: moto moto sc - Unsplash Crew on vessel
Despite years of campaigning by associations, P&I insurers and other groups within the industry working in enclosed spaces remains a major cause of death among seafarers and shore workers.

These tragic and avoidable accidents have been brought into focus again by both Intermanager and vetting specialists RightShip over the past two weeks.

On 9 February ship manager’s association Intermanager reported that there had been nine deaths related to enclosed spaces this year alone.

Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General of Intermanager said in his weekly message, “It absolutely breaks my heart to report another nine deaths in enclosed spaces since the beginning of this year. We have been working on this project for so many years and I hope to have results very shortly.”

On Wednesday this week RightShip published a safety insights paper into enclosed space entry.

RightShip assessed a selection of 360 incidents that have of occurred since 2019. Of these incidents 31 incidents involved enclosed spaces with 39 lives lost as a result.

“All of these tragic incidents could have been avoided if certain preventative or mitigating controls had been in place,” RightShip commented on a post on LinkedIn.

The RightShip paper is available by clicking here

“In the maritime industry, we know that working in enclosed spaces can be dangerous. That's why we have created this Insights paper to provide key learnings from industry incidents, identified gaps and leading practices to improve standards and mitigate risk,” RightShip said.

In November last year Intermanager welcomed a commitment by the IMO to review guidance governing safe working in enclosed spaces onboard ships. The association submitted a comment paper to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) 106 meeting which set out recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships. 

The IMO MSC 107 meeting scheduled for June this is to draw up a plan for the revision of IMO resolution A 1050/27 in relation to Enclosed Space Entry Procedures.