Death and injury from wayward mooring lines have been highlighted in recent months yet most are avoidable through good practice, maintenance, adequate hazard assessment and common sense. According to International Maritime Organisation secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos there has been little formal presentation of mooring, a gap that the Nautical Institute seeks to fill with two practical guides.
Says the institute “Mooring accidents cause great concern to those in the maritime industry, both ashore and afloat. Good practice is urgently needed to prevent deaths and injuries, particularly in trades such as dry bulk and containers.”
At a seminar, held by the institute with the UK Harbour Masters’ Association, Karl Lumbers of the UK P&I Club said his research showed large mooring accidents had cost the club more than $34 million over the last 20 years. These claims were the seventh highest injury suffered by ships’ crews by both number and value and the third highest in average value per claim. He described some of the injuries as “truly horrific” involving not only deck crew but catering staff, engine room staff and apprentices.
Preliminary findings of a survey presently being carried by the UK P&I Club has found that of 94 vessels inspected between February and June 2009, 43% of vessels use non-deck crew during mooring operations. Mr Lumbers questioned the effectiveness of controls and whether non-deck crews are trained to be aware of the risks inherent in a mooring operation.
Mooring and Anchoring Ships is published in two volumes: Volume 1, Principles and Practice by Ian Clarke MNI, looks at the theory behind good practice and explores how shore and sea staff can avoid personal injury and breakaway incidents while Volume 2, Inspection and Maintenance by Walter Vervloesem AMNI, looks at good practice colour photographs to illustrate the right way to carry out procedures.
“Provision of suitable onboard arrangements for running mooring lines is often neglected and the result is poor arrangements that resemble knitting patterns rather than sensible means of securing ships alongside,” says Clarke.
Walter Vervloesem, author of Volume 2, Inspection and Maintenance, finds problems, deficiencies and bad practice during ship inspections or mooring-related claim investigations: “The fact is that problems are identified on almost every ship,” he said. “This is an indication that good maintenance, proper inspection and safe operation practices are overlooked by those in charge of the mooring stations, and, more worryingly, are actually systematically being overlooked by all involved in a ship’s voyage – including ship’s crews and staff, superintendents, class, flag states and port state control.
“This further shows the importance of providing specific information on mooring practices and mooring equipment and underpins the statement that the subject of mooring needs to be addressed by all interested parties throughout the international shipping industry from the design stage to berthing.”
Volume 1 and 2 cost £75 each and £130 when bought together. They can be ordered from The Nautical Institute website www.nautinst.org