Seaman died 'trying to jump from ship to quay' at Hull dock
COMPLACENCY and a seemingly danger-free shortcut are thought to be causes of a tragic death at Hull docks.
Seaman Anton Trofimov, 27, was working on a cargo ship berthed at Queen Elizabeth Dock when he went overboard, smashed his head and drowned.
Although no one witnessed his fall, it is thought he used a shortcut through a pilot gate and attempted to jump from the ship to the quay, instead of using the gangway at the other end of the ship.
An inquest into the death of Mr Trofimov, of Ukraine, was held at Hull Coroner's Court.
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Coroner Paul Marks said: "He almost certainly slipped into the water while stepping from the ship to the dockside.
"The use of the pilot gate was a significant shortcut, which might have appeared to be free from risk."
Mr Trofimov was serving on the Dette G cargo ship, which was berthed in the docks on January 16, last year.
The crew had been unloading the cargo on to the docks when the accident happened at about 11pm.
It is believed when the ship first berthed, the pilot gate would have been about level with the dockside, about 2ft or 3ft away.
But as the cargo was unloaded and the weight of the ship decreased, the deck would have risen and the pilot gate rose up to become higher than the dock.
It is thought Mr Trofimov may have thought the difference was still minimal when he decided to take the shortcut.
The air temperature that night was -1C and may have made the dockside slippery.
Tony Brown, principal inspector with Marine Accident Investigation Branch, said: "There was a shortcut, which might have seemed safe to use.
"Some crew may have become complacent about its use.
"It would have saved time and seemed easier to use the pilot gate than walk down the ship and use the gangway.
"However, as the discharge of cargo increased, using it as a means of access between ship and dock became more dangerous. The height from the dock increased from 15cm to 80cm."
A scream was heard by dock workers and Mr Trofimov's hard hat was on the side of the dock.
Dock labourer Karl Johnston raised the alarm. He said: "He was face down and his arms were splashing about.
"The ship then moved in and I lost sight of him.
"When it moved away again I saw him again and then saw him sinking."
Emergency crews and dock workers could see no sign of Mr Trofimov. The search and rescue operation was called off at 1am the following morning and resumed later that day.
Eventually, police divers found his body at the bottom of the dock and pulled it ashore.
A jury of ten recorded a verdict of accidental death.