“Horrific” is how the UK P&I Club describes injuries to an oiler from a mooring gone wrong. The incident comes shortlky after the club released a safety booklet and highlights the need for care and awareness.
The incident occurred onboard a vessel entering a port with the assistance of a tug, the mooring gang sent to the poop deck consisted of the Second Officer, 2 AB’s and one engine room oiler. It was discovered that this was the normal procedure onboard with one member of the engine room crew being used regularly to make up for short numbers during mooring.
The vessel made the tug fast aft through the central fairlead and according to both the Captain and Second officer the operation was proceeding as normal. As the vessel approached the berth the crew prepared to let the tug go, in doing so the oilers hand became entangled between the tugs line and the vessels central fairlead as the tug attempted to heave in. Once alongside the oiler was sent to a local hospital for treatment.
The crew member suffered horrendous injuries to his hand and fingers. The skin was pulled from a substantial portion of the hand and almost completely from all four fingers leaving what remained of the bone exposed. The remains of the index finger were fully amputated in hospital and attempts were made to save his thumb, it was noted that during the time after the incident the oiler could not speak fluently due to the extent of the pain and severity of his injuries.
Mooring is one of the most dangerous activities undertaken onboard and as a result it is essential that all crew members are highly trained, familiar with operations, wearing the correct PPE, supervised correctly and alert.
This incident underlines the view of the Association that extreme caution should be taken during mooring operations and only qualified, appropriate personnel should be involved.