Another death at MSC

There has been another afloat death at Military Sealift Command this month. The first was from falling, the second seems to be while handling an UNREP line cutter.

My first thought was we all have dangerous jobs. My second was ‘shit happens.’ But two in a month?

The reality is this: the office likes to push training responsibilities on the ships. They would rather people get half-assed shipboard training. They send PowerPoint training slides out and call it good. They want the mobile training people (ATT) to come out to the ships while the ships are busy to fit in training here and there. It’s gun-decked at best. When someone dies they have a brief safety stand down and figure everything is okay again.

The two deaths were avoidable. The equipment was fine, the use of the equipment was not. Training was lacking.

Let’s see if our new RDML Wettlaufer can prevent this from from becoming a trend.


I guess that part hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. Newbies on the kingpost winches during unreps scared the hell out of me and made me keep my head on a swivel.

I wonder how much is related to fatigue. But even with a well rested crew, there are hazards everywhere

“Tumbling 25 feet” ? Is that just the reporter reaching for words or was the work some where fall protection not normally used?

Are incidents aboard MSC ships subject to any outside investigation/analysis/reporting or is it all done in house?

NCIS investigates deaths on board MSC ships. Sovereign Immunity prevents foreign officials from conducting this type of work. An old time Master I have sailed with was slapped hard for not adhering to this back in the early 2000’s while commanding and MSC contract mariner ship.

MSC is not always the benign job that box ship sailors experience. There was a guy on the USNS SUPPLY whose ankle bones were crushed when a forklift bringing slings to the helicopter deck during a VERTREP came speeding around a corner and ran over it.

You are correct MSC is not a benign job.
There are alot of sociopaths both in the office and on the ships.
you can always refuse any task on terms of safety.
Good luck

I don’t know about sociopaths in the office but I’ve seen a few on the ships. Both UNREPS with ships running close alongside connected with cables transferring jet fuel and bombs and VERTREPS with two helicopters dancing back and forth between the ships with heavy sling loads are inherently dangerous occupations. A moment of inattention by any one of a number of people can have dire consequences.
Thanks for the good luck wish but I left MSC some time ago.

PS The guy whose ankle was run over by the hard tire on the forklift will never walk normally again. The bones in his foot and ankle were crushed to a pulp.

If it was easy the Navy would do it.

The aircraft carriers and warships receiving the supplies are Navy ships so I’m not sure what you mean.

HAHA, so true. Funny how the navy can dump thousands of gallons of fuel over the side when filling their tanks…but a civilian gets a drop in the ocean and he goes to jail.

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Interesting you should say that. After watching residual jet fuel pour out of the open scuppers during UNREPS on a supply ship I was on, I fabricated plugs to stem the flow. No one on board had thought of doing so before.

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All, by themselves

I’ve almost been seriously injured at least four times by the acts of other CIVMARS that were supposed to have my back. I believe in all four cases,the intent was malicious. Im talking potential severed limbs, crushed hand, and skull fractures. Mostly there are good hearted people. In the minority,there are some sick sick people on these ships.

And it’s not the only gov agency with sickos. I am dealing with such persons right here and documenting the hell out of it, just to cover my ass. Never returning to this one, I will refuse any further assignment

Stay safe. It’s a big ocean.

When this hitch is over I am hanging up the spurs.

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I am sorry to hear that. Fuck other people on the ship. You do you and tell them to eat a turd sammich!

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You can’t put a price on waking up in the morning and having a leisurely cup of coffee while deciding what to do with the rest of your day instead of packing your sea bag and heading for the airport.