The incident took place in a tanker. Vessel was proceeding to Singapore from Vizag for dry-docking. Vessel was taken off course , off Andamans for tank cleaning and gas freeing operations. Day and night, the work was being done and crew were working overtime.One of the crew member, who joined the vessel a month back, started behaving abnormally, and he wanted to leave the ship and go home.

Master assured him that he will be repatriated on arrival Singapore.Next day in the afternoon, 2nd officer, who was on the bridge, had a thud sound and splashing of water. He came out and saw somebody swimming in the sea. The vessel was drifting, and the distance between the swimmer and the ship increased. 2nd Officer threw the life buoy on the stbd side and informed Master and Chief officer. Crew gathered on the deck and were shouting at him. The stations were called, rescue boat (stbd side life boat) was lowered, and the person was picked up after overcoming his resistance and was brought back to the ship.He was kept under lock and key inside a cabin and round the clock watch was kept.

At Singapore, he was signed off. During the interrogation, it was found that he had already overcome with the work load. Since the time he joined the vessel, the work load was heavy and there was no time for entertainment and recreation. This made him get fatigued and also psychologically got depression also.Lesson Learnt: extra manpower by way of temporary workshop people could be employed to help seamen for such operations, which will make the people to take rest and relax on a turn basis. This type of rest is very important, because people were working inside a cargo tank.

(Vinod Shreepad Upadhya)
hindustan institute of marine training chennai