Kibo Incident Report Published


On May 3rd 2015, Jacob Nicol, a 22 year old deckhand working aboard the 82 metre superyacht Kibo was injured after falling into the water whilst working over the side.

Now nearly 4 years after the event the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI) has published a report on its findings following the incident.

The report concludes that the primary cause of the accident “was poor working practices on board and a failure to follow the yacht’s documented safety management system (SMS).”

Despite the requirement, laid out in the yacht’s technical manual, that an independent safety line should be fitted to all those working over the side the report notes that the deckhand was not wearing one.

It also notes that despite guidance in the working aloft and outboard section of “Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers” recommending the wearing of inflateable life jackets, the deckhand was not wearing one at the time of the incident.

As with most accidents, it is seldom possible to cite a single event or action as being the “cause”.

But the report concludes that: “The most likely cause of the Deckhand falling from the worksite was that he lost his footing while repositioning the fender hook on the yacht’s bulwark.”

The report goes on to say that: “Had the lifebuoy in the vicinity of the worksite been deployed as soon as the Deckhand fell, it is likely that the Deckhand would have been able to remain on the surface of the water until he could be recovered to the yacht.

Once in the water and weighed down by the weight of the fender hook, the report suggests the Deckhand did not have the support and buoyancy that would have been provided by a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

One person in particular was singled out for praise.  The report stated that: 

“The actions of the nurse during the on board medical response greatly enhanced the Deckhand’s chances of survival.”

As with all report like this it is is vital that those in the yachting industry learn from accidents to help improve safety and avoid serious incidents occurring on board in the future.

Read the full report here