An interim report has been released by the UK Marine Accident Investigation branch (MAIB) into the death of a pilot in the Humber Estuary while attempting to board a RoRo cargo vessel.

The MAIB is continuing its investigation regarding the fatal fall from height while boarding the Finland-registered roll-on/roll-off cargo ship Finnhawk from the UK-registered pilot vessel PV Humber Saturn off the Humber Estuary, England.

At 1300 on 8 January 2023, a pilot fell from the pilot ladder while boarding the 2001-built Finland-flagged roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) cargo vessel Finnhawk, owned and managed by Finnlines Plc, at the entrance to the Humber Estuary.

The pilot landed on the handrail and deck of the attending pilot vessel PV Humber Saturn before sliding into the water, where his lifejacket automatically inflated.

The pilot was quickly brought to the pilot vessel’s aft recovery platform, but the crew were unable to raise the platform and recover the pilot on to PV Humber Saturn.

A second pilot descended to the submerged platform and held the injured pilot’s head clear of the water. A “Mayday” broadcast resulted in the deployment of a Royal National Lifeboat Institution all-weather lifeboat and a coastguard rescue helicopter, and the pilot was transferred from PV Humber Saturn to hospital.

However, the pilot did not recover consciousness and was declared deceased later that afternoon. The second pilot suffered minor hypothermia and strained arm muscles, as MAIB reports.

The MAIB’s investigation has considered various aspects of the accident to determine the causes and circumstances of the pilot’s fall from the pilot ladder.

These include: the ro-ro cargo vessel’s pilot ladder arrangements; the personal protective equipment being worn; the pilot vessel’s man overboard recovery arrangements; and pilot fitness and training requirements.

On completion of the investigation, a draft of the report will be prepared and distributed by MAIB to stakeholders for a 30-day consultation period.