The trapdoor arrangement revisited

Herman Broers

Capt. Troy Evans of New Zealand pointed out some issues regarding the text on the website about the Trapdoor Arrangement. The following article contains the amended text of the website, including a very clear picture of how a compliant trapdoor arrangement should look like.

Trapdoor arrangement

One very special kind of combination ladder arrangement is the so-called trapdoor arrangement. 

Many pilots do not like to use this system, because it requires a lot of acrobatics to embark or disembark the ship. In december 2019 a New York pilot died when boarding a ship with this system, which attracted a lot of attention in the press

SOLAS regulations are very clear about this type of arrangement: 

” In the case of a combination arrangement using an accommodation ladder with a trapdoor in the bottom platform (i.e. embarkation platform), the pilot ladder and man ropes shall be rigged through the trapdoor extending above the platform to the height of the handrail.” 

This clearly makes many trapdoor arrangements, such as the one in the below picture non-compliant. 

A non-compliant trapdoor arrangement: Pic:  Marinelog article

To address the above problems, in 2020 there have been modifications to this system on some ships, which solves the above problems, provided that the system is secured to the ship’s hull on the level of the platform. The below picture shows how a compliant trapdoor arrangement should look like. 

The Safe Working Load (SWL) of the winch that holds the platform arrangement, must at least be a SWL of sufficient strength to cope with the weight of the platform, accomodation ladder, max number of persons on the arrangement plus 96kN. Also a mechanical locking device must be in place and used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Pilot ladders – bits and pieces and a bit of testing.

The following article appeared in AIMPA magazine number 2 about the strength and testing of pilot ladders : There is much more information about pilot ladders in the AIMPA magazine, second issue, if you wish to read more you can download a copy at the bottom of this post.