Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cruise ship worker killed by window-washing machine

Arshad Mehmood (left) with Ventura captain Charlie Carr Image copyright P&O Cruises
Image caption Arshad Mehmood (left), pictured here with Ventura captain Charlie Carr, was described as an experienced seaman

A cruise ship worker died after being crushed by the ship's automatic window-washing machine, an inquest has heard.

Leading Seaman Arshad Mehmood, 57, was working on Southampton-based MV Azura on a Mediterranean cruise in July 2018.

The married crew member, from Pakistan, reached out through a hatch and was crushed against the ship's side, the hearing was told.

Hampshire coroner Grahame Short concluded Mr Mehmood's death was accidental.

Mr Mehmood and a colleague were monitoring the machine at night while it moved along the ship's starboard side, the inquest heard.

At about 01:00 BST on 31 July, he tried to reach the machine to switch it off at the end of its run, Mr Short said.

"He reached out and became trapped between the machine and the side of the ship," he added.

"He was crushed, asphyxiated, and he died in that position."

Family devastated

Mr Short said Mr Mehmood had not followed his training when he tried to stow the machine single-handedly rather than asking his co-worker to use a remote control panel.

"It is more likely than not that he decided he would save time," although he was under no pressure to do so, the coroner added.

In a message of condolence, Mr Short said: "Arshad was the principle breadwinner and his loss must have devastated the family."

An investigator for Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority, Chris Metson, said he had recommended safety improvements to the window machine, manufactured by Swedish firm Skycon.

In a statement, P&O Cruises said it was "deeply saddened" by the loss of the experienced crew member.

It said: "While we have already made improvements to our safety management systems we will continue to do so to ensure a similar accident cannot happen again."

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