Foremost, protect yourself

The seafarer from Kaliningrad and his mates were returning from the city to the ship which stayed at the port of San Antonio Este (Argentina), late in the evening.

When they approached the ship, they were surprised to see that the gangway had been raised, and its lower platform was at a considerable distance from the ground.

They decided not to call a Watch seaman, but to climb at their own peril and risk. One of them safely climbed onto the deck of the ship, and the second could not take hold and fell into the water.

According to him, being in the water between a large ship and a pier, he was seriously frightened, but managed to cope with his emotions and, with the help of his mates, got out of the water to the shore, saying goodbye to his backpack, documents and mobile phone.

Of course, it was not possible to conceal such an incident from the port authorities. Representatives of the port administration soon rushed on board the ship. Still not fully recovered from the shock, the seafarer had to explain what had happened to one of the inspectors and to sign some papers .... 

Then, he was left alone with representatives of the ship's administration, and once in the morning he turned from a victim into an accused. The captain accused the seafarer, alleging he was actually drunk and that was the only reason he fell in the water, and the gangway had nothing to do with it. The captain's message was something like "all the other people climbed on board safely, and only you let me down and the company. In short, at the next port, "dear", you are going home".

The seafarer tried to challenge the accusations, stating he did not undergo any alcohol test! He received the answer that it was not at all necessary, since everyone who talked to him can confirm that he smelled of alcohol. As a result, the seafarer was signed off from the vessel, as they had promised, in the next port of call - St. Petersburg.

The seafarer came to the Kaliningrad Territorial Organization of SUR with the question: "Was it possible to somehow protect yourself in this situation?"

- If you get down to it, then yes, it was possible, but under one condition - if the seafarer really was not drunk, - Vladimir Sychev, an Inspector of KTO SUR explained.

An official medical examination could confirm "sobriety", but the seafarer did not insist on a medical examination and for alcohol and drugs test immediately after the incident. In addition, he tried to climb the gangway, which was not installed in accordance with safety requirements.

It should be clearly understood that if you become involved in an accident on board, resulted in somebody's injury, then for your own safety it is useful to ask the captain to send you for an alcohol examination, at least so that in case of any future proceedings no one had any questions about your state at the time of the incident. A medical report will override any other document drawn up from someone else's words, - Vladimir Sychev added. - In a word, do not sign documents without looking, think with your head, and if you dont know what to do, ask! Call the trade union or the ITF - and preferably at the stage of the proceedings, and not when a decision has already been made for you that does not suit you.

Source: KTO SUR
Photo: Vladimir Sychev, from the personal archive