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Crew in desperate fight to save storm injury sailor.


A REPORT has described a crew's desperate efforts to save the life of their Wirral shipmate after he was fatally injured by a freak wave.

Graham Ross, 52, of Greasby, had survived the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor during the Falklands conflict, but lost his life aboard the Maersk Kithira during a typhoon in the South China Sea.

A report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch outlines that on September 23 last year the vessel set off from Hong Kong; the crew were aware of a weather report about the typhoon and had completed a "heavy weather checklist".

At 7.45pm, an alarm sounded indicating to the chief officer that a watertight closure had failed on the deck.

It was agreed the chief officer would go out to investigate and Mr Ross volunteered to go with him, both making their way outside.

Shortly before 8.30pm, Mr Ross noted the starboard anchor was slack, reporting that he and the chief officer could take a couple of minutes to tighten it.

As he worked a wave broke over the deck knocking him from the anchor platform.

The chief officer was also hit, coming round 30 seconds later and dragging Mr Ross to a safe place and putting him in the recovery position.

An airlift was impractical in the fierce weather and throughout the rest of the night the crew stabilised Mr Ross, dressing his wounds, splinting his legs and administering pain relief.

From 6am, however, on September 24 he worsened, efforts to revive him with CPR proving unsuccessful.

The report concluded that the extent of the severe weather conditions had been underestimated and contrary to company instructions, the heavy weather check list had not been created with the Maersk Kithira in mind.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is now considering new measures for working on deck in the next code of safe working practices for merchant seamen.

Mr Ross joined Cunard Shipping as a 16-yearold cadet in 1972, had worked for Maersk since 1991, and was chief engineer for eight years.

At the time of his death, neighbours described him as "an excellent man" who had years of experience working in tough conditions.


Graham Ross
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2009
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