MAIB Report: Failure of a suspended buoy on workboat Annie E with one person injured

At approximately 1315 on 3 April 2021, a deckhand on board the workboat Annie E was injured when he was struck by a grid buoy that had been lifted out of the water by the workboat’s forward crane at a fish farm off the Isle of Muck.

Annie E’s skipper had noticed that the grid buoy was out of position and needed to be lifted in order to recover and re-lay its mooring anchor. The workboat’s forward crane was used to lift the buoy and its anchor connection out of the water. The buoy was suspended 9m above the water when its metal components experienced a mechanical failure, resulting in the buoy falling and striking the deckhand.

First aid was administered to the injured deckhand, who was evacuated by a coastguard helicopter to hospital, where he underwent surgery. He has since received further surgery and treatment.

Safety Issues
– the deckhand was injured when he was struck by a falling grid buoy that had been lifted by Annie E’s forward crane
– the deckhand was standing near to the suspended buoy, contrary to the workboat owner’s risk assessments, method statements, lifting plan and industry guidelines
– the risk assessments and method statements did not fully mitigate the risks associated with a suspended load
– the grid buoy was not certified as lifting equipment and the lifting technique used did not comply with the manufacturer’s recommended procedure, which the vessel’s owner and crew were unaware of
– the grid buoy’s metal components were worn and the top washer was missing, both of which resulted in its failure
– there was no record of the buoy having been inspected before installation or routinely checked in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines while in service

In view of the actions taken by the organisations involved in this accident, no safety recommendations have been made.

Download the report: Annie E Report 2022

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