The Merchant Shipping Directorate has issued an Information Notice to remind all concerned on the potential safety issues related to the excessive consumption of alcohol onboard merchant vessels and yachts.
Reference is made to the Marine Safety Investigation Report No 01 of 2018 and 10 of 2019. The first report ( 01/2018 ) investigated and summarised the fatal fall of an ordinary seaman from a staircase of the Maltese Flagged vessel MV Armata, while at anchorage outside port limits of Tianjin. The second report ( 10/2019 ) investigated another fatal fall, onboard the Maltese Flagged yacht “La Polonia”. The chief stewardess of the yacht, was found unresponsive in her cabin. In the conclusions of both reports the cause of the fatal falls was attributed mainly to the high level of alcohol which may have impaired cognition and caused poor coordination.
The aim of these Safety Investigation Report is to establish the circumstances and safety factors of a particular accident as a basis to make recommendations, in order to minimize the risk of such re-occurrences. Therefore it is highly recommended that these investigation reports are brought to the attention of all vessel operators, masters and crew onboard Maltese registered vessels in order to follow the recommendations contained therein.
The notice reminds also that Section A-VIII/1.10 of the STCW Convention, as amended, requires mandatory measures, by the vessel owners, to prevent drug and alcohol abuse onboard. It establishes the maximum limit of blood alcohol content for crew serving as Officers On Watch (OOWs). Masters must therefore ensure that the company drug and alcohol policy onboard is enforced and followed.