Palletised Reefer Cargo Gear Failure – Investigation Report

At approximately 1140 hours New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT) on 15 October 2004, vehicles were being discharged from a reefer vessel. Two gangs from the stevedoring company were operating on board at the time. At about 1140 hours, a 0.5 tonne lifting frame was lifting an approximate 1.0 vehicle from No. 3 hold. The stevedore operating the winch observed the starboard runner wire was starting to unravel. The winch driver immediately lowered the port runner allowing the vehicle to drop onto the starboard deck, as the wire on the yardarm of the union purchase parted.

2013.04.22 - Palletised Reefer Cargo Gear Failure Figure 1

Surveyors who inspected the accident site found:

  1. The broken wire appeared to have been previously damaged as broken strands were found a short distance from the break.
  2. The cargo runners that were shackled to the cargo hook monkey face were used to open and close the tween deck hatch covers.
  3. When opening the above covers the weight of the lift is taken on one runner only, placing more strain on that wire.
  4. The wires were observed to chafe on the hatch coaming.
  5. It was observed that the breakage occurred at a point where chafing had occurred.
  6. The remaining cargo runner wires appeared older and lacked sufficient lubrication.
  7. The open wire lay of the broken runner wire at No.3 hold was very dry and rusty.

2013.04.22 - Palletised Reefer Cargo Gear Failure Figure 2

Due to the above findings the surveyors among others recommended that:

  • All cargo runner wires that are very dry and rusty be replaced.
  • All remaining cargo runner wires to be kept lubricated properly.

Source: Maritime New Zealand

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