During day to day operations of a ship and particularly in situations where the ship has been damaged, it is usually assumed that all watertight doors are closed and that the vessel’s internal watertight subdivision is 100% effective. On board a ship, the safety of the crew and passengers depends on the safety of the ship and this includes the safe use of watertight doors so that they do not pose any danger when passengers and crew pass through the doors or operate them. However, our casualty statistics indicate that this is not always the case.
Full awareness video (16 minutes)
This full video looks at the important aspects related to the installation and use of watertight doors.
Root cause investigations after incidents involving power operated watertight doors have revealed that it has been common practice onboard ship to not to fully open watertight doors before passing through the doors. The door safety systems have also been found not to be in full working order during recent inspections and that some doors have not been properly maintained or tested. Most accidents involving people occurs when the doors are in a bridge control, “doors closed” mode.
Shipping losses have declined over the past decade, driven by an increasingly robust safety environment and self-regulation. However, despite the reduction in total losses, they still happen and most of them are due to foundering, grounding, fire, collision or contact damage. These initial events can result in the vessel losing stability and buoyancy, which can lead to a major incident with a potential for significant loss of life.
Gard’s aim is, together with our partner in this project, DNV GL to create awareness of the correct use of and contribute to an increased competence on power operated watertight doors. Based on our analysis of cases involving watertight doors, Gard and DNV GL have produced a video and a presentation identifying the major risks, technical and operational issues, and steps the maritime industry can take to address them.
Further information can be obtained from the watertight doors information package or training seminars available free of charge to GARD Members and clients.
The watertight doors information package
Gard’s Members and clients will already have received this information package in an email from Gard. If, as a Member or client of Gard, you cannot trace receipt of this material, please contact to obtain your copy.
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Additional material available from Gard upon request
Please contact if you would like to obtain additional material.