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CPD Champion project - Safe Mooring Operations

This is excellent - a great example of how feedback from NI Branch technical meetings can input to projects - in this case a contribution we can use when Safe Mooring operations is discussed at the IMO early next year.
brgds Captain Harry Gale BSc (Hons) FNI
Technical Manager

On the request from The Nautical Institute UK, both The Nautical Institute Ukraine and Anglo Eastern Maritime Training Center Odessa took part in CPD Champion project - Safe Mooring Operations.

During the last three months, Anglo-Eastern Ukraine Training Center used training material regarding Safe Mooring Operations provided by the Nautical Institute. It was used in context of Crew Safety, Maritime Safety Management and Safe Mooring Operations courses, which have been already developed/conducted by AEMTC, as additional training material. For the time being, 111 officers and ratings participated in these courses and gave their feedback.

Having reviewed the safe mooring guide and supporting material, training superintendents found it valuable, representing a great concern on mooring operations and that this material had much in common with training programs of courses conducted in Anglo-Eastern Ukraine Training Centres. The most important topics in the project were defined the following: the recognition of snapback zones, supervision of the operation and proper training level of involved crew.

In addition, the following principal hazards associated with the mooring can be shared:

- While the guide highlights the benefits of experienced and well-trained crew, the sufficient number of personnel should always be provided on each mooring station to ensure safe operation. Lack of manning level can lead to improper handling of towing lines and the mooring ropes. Especially on a stage when intended number of the ropes were already placed on shore dolphins/bitts, but the vessel still needs to shift ahead / astern with help of mooring lines to come to her required position.

- Commercial pressure aspects. This sometimes results in refusal of tug’s service or reduced number of required tugs, which contravenes safe mooring, as well as premature release of the tugs to save the service costs and use of ship’s rope as towing line when there is an option to use a tug’s line as towing line. Another side of commercial aspects is the use less number of ropes as needed, and/or with inadequate capacity (material, dia and length), or use of deteriorated ropes.

- Mooring under time constraint. Despite time pressure originated by port, all efforts should be made for detailed toolbox prior to operation and for completion of required preparations for the mooring, for instance to flake the ropes from storage reels onto the deck. On many occasions, the accidents occurred due to operation of the winches at a high speed or because of running of the crew which creates trip/slip/fall hazards. Quick mooring is often versus safe mooring.

- Apart from importance of rational position of officer in charge for supervision of the operation mentioned in the material, the crew should always be warned against unsafe act for establishing the visual contact with responsible officer, for instance when a member operating the winch places himself on winch’s base instead of designated platform. Use of High visibility vests is recommended during operation, especially at dark time.

- Inadequate ship’s or port’s mooring arrangement to meet all foreseeable operational loads. On many large-size vessels there is lack of Panama leads on bow and quarter shoulders and on some others the number of Panama leads prevails over number of pedestal roller fairleads. When a fairlead roller is used for towing line, it may become detached under excessive load of towing line or incorrect towing line / mooring line positioning, with severe consequences. Whereas lack of roller / universal fairleads may cause chaffing and abrasion damage of the rope. The crew/owners should evaluate such arrangements and request for modification in shipyard, with completion of risk assessment and obtaining of required approvals from vessel’s Class.
Another concern which large-size vessels may face in some ports is the inadequate layout of mooring bitts/dolphins located on a relatively short in length quay in compare with the length of a berthed vessel. This results in conflict with vessel’ s safe stay alongside due to impossibility to make fast headlines and sternlines from protruded vessel’s bow and stern.

- Monkey’s Fist attached to heaving line must not contain any additional material or weight. Another concern is the painting of the fist by crew, making it very stiff. This creates the risk of injury in the event of it striking personnel on the tug or ashore. When heaving lines are to be thrown to the berth the linesman ashore should be alerted to the fact. The industry provides now variety of safe but same time convenient for handling designs of monkey’s fists made from rubber or done as pockets filled with different split materials. It’s advisable for ship staff to order above.

- Importance of regular maintenance program, both for equipment and the ropes. Along with PPT images showing inadequate storage of ropes, lack of marking of winch control levers with direction of operation or their intentional fixing with a hook, the crew should also focus on some other important checks prior the operation, such as:

1. self-return function of winch control levers is operational;
2. winch clutches should operate smoothly and pins for securing the clutches should be attached to the clutch control levers and ready for use. Difficulty with clutch operation will cause delay with engagement of required mooring winch for heaving up / slacken of the rope and this in turn may contribute to excessive load to mooring line or line’s slack can be trapped between vessel’s hull and the fender.
3. Mooring rollers are freely rotating. Adequately maintained and lubricated rollers will extend mooring rope’s life, whereas a jammed roller will add the friction and cause parting of ropes which can be very dangerous.
4. Winch brake should render at 60% of the MBL of the line on the drum. Brakes should be closely examined to ensure all linkages are working correctly, brake band material thickness is adequate and the condition of the brake lining is satisfactory. If mooring ropes are maintained in satisfactory condition and winch brakes were adjusted in right manner, the mooring rope should never part, even in case of unexpected movement of the vessel.

In general, according to students’ feedback the Safe Mooring ppt presentation was found rather interesting, problem area pictures used in it are actual. Computer modeling for projection of snap back path of broken rope during accident on board Zarga was also found useful and clear for understanding. One more valuable case study is the fatal accident of deck cadet onboard C/V OOCL Europe. The investigation report repeatedly highlights the importance of supervision, danger of snap back zones and proper familiarization of the crew with intended operation. It also provides a prudent advice to use unreeled spare vessel’s mooring rope as towline, rather than the rope from the winch.

The danger of mooring line straightening in different direction under tension is not highlighted properly. Danger of “Whip effect” during uncontrolled release of lines / messengers from drums also is not mentioned.

General comments: according to the trainer’s and student’s feedback the Safe Mooring presentation was found rather interesting, problem area pictures used in it are actual. Computer modeling for projection of snap back path of broken rope during accident on board Zarga was also found useful and clear for understanding .

CPD Champion: Member of Executive Board, Head of AEMTC Odessa Capt. Andriy BOYKO, MNI
Honorary Secretary NIU: Professor Vladimir TORSKIY, FNI

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