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Report on death of 81-metre superyacht Kibo (now Grace)

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Dal Kikin
January 21, 2019

On the morning of 03 May 2015, the large private yacht Kibo (now Grace) was at anchor off Portals Nous in the island of Majorca. A party of 6 guests were on board, according to Yacht Harbour.

As was the normal practice when guests were on board, the work day started early by cleaning the exterior of the yacht and preparing various equipment and facilities for the use of the guests. It was decided that this would be a suitable opportunity to clean the rubbing strakes (known as “rub rails”) on the yacht’s hull approximately 3m above the waterline. This work involves a crew member working over the side of the yacht supported by a safety harness and a “bosun’s chair” that were secured to the yacht’s bulwarks. A deckhand / assistant engineer (“the Deckhand”2) was chosen for the cleaning duties and commenced the overside work, under the supervision of the Chief Officer (C/O) and the Third Officer (3/O).

After working over the side for approximately 50 minutes, the Deckhand fell from the worksite into the water and sank below the surface. An on board rescue was commenced, and the Deckhand was recovered from water. The time from the Deckhand falling from the worksite to being recovered back on board the yacht was approximately 13 minutes. First aid was administered, and an ambulance was arranged from shore. With first aid continuing, the Deckhand was transferred to shore in the yacht’s tender where he was transferred to a local hospital for treatment.

Due to being deprived of oxygen while under water, the Deckhand suffered hypoxic brain injuries and was left severely disabled. On 07 June 2017 the Deckhand died of bronchial pneumonia brought on by his immobility following the accident. A ruling of accidental death was recorded following an inquest at Birmingham Coroner’s Court.

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

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