The vessel had just left the port when the deck apprentice was asked to come to the bridge to clean the windows. The weather was nice and the sun was shining, but salt on the windows obstructed the view. Behind the pilot chair, there was a hatch leading to a tunnel/trunk going from the bridge to the machinery space. They used to keep the water hose in there.

The apprentice came to the bridge, opened the hatch and fetched the hose. Since the vessel was leaving the port, the captain went out on the bridge wing. He jumped over the hatch, which remained open. When he was heading back to the pilot chair, he stepped into the opening and fell 3–4 metres down. The apprentice took over the controls to stop the ship. He also called up the mate who was by the mooring lines.

When the mate arrived at the bridge, he took over the command of the ship and called for assistance. Just as the ship touched the quay, the ambulance came and took the captain to the hospital. He was lucky and had only sprained his foot.  

Following the accident, the shipping company has introduced a number of measures. They have, for instance, moved the water hose to a more suitable location and emphasised that the sailing preparations should be finished before the vessel casts loose. They have also looked at the importance of marking/fencing off areas that are temporarily open.

In this case, the captain was lucky. The NMA often receives reports of fall accidents with severe consequenses. On 3 April 2012, the vessel MS Svealand docked by Fiskå Mølle in Rogaland to unload and load. A member of the crew jumped towards the pallet lift which was on its way down the side of the ship. He fell and landed 5 metres down on a tank top. He was sent to Stavanger universitetsykehus (SUS) with severe injuries and later died from these injuries at the hospital on16 April 2012.

The incident is investigated by the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority, and the preliminary report is found here: