Connecting hoses between a vessel and an offshore installation can be a dodgy business as the latest Marine Safety Forum Alert points out. How to make it safer?
In the incident a bulk hose was lowered be crane from an offshore installation to a vessel. An AB tried to lash the hose to the vessel’s outer rail but it was not fully secured. After the hose was lowered and the crane hook disconnected The vessel then rose on the swell, the hose came apart, the lashing gave way, the hose was whipped over the side and the coupling struck the AB’s arm producing crushing injuries, multiple fractures and lacerations.
Says MSF: “Hose snagging incidents continue to be a problem during bulk transfers between vessels and installations offshore. A method has been established which has proven very successful over the past few years. This was derived from discussions with vessel masters and shore-based logistics and marine staff. The method involves minimal modification to ship structures and reduces physical handling of the hose.”
The method requires the vessel to have up to three pins welded to the upper rail or ‘taff’ rail in the safe haven, near the bulk hose manifolds on each side. These pins are for hooking on the eye of a webbing strop, 3 tonnes Safe Working Load, and about 2 to 3 metres long. when the hose is being lowered to the ship.
The webbing strop, or hang-off strop, should be attached to the bulk hose about 6 to 8 metres from the hose end and have two turns around the hose, “choked” on the eye. The strop should then be prevented from slipping on the hose by use of tie-wraps or light lashings to prevent slackening and subsequent slippage.
The vessel will advise the installation of the optimum position of the strop on each hose prior to coming alongside. This may vary according to the distance from the hang-off position of the required product manifold on the ship. The crane driver will then pick the hose up and pass it down to the vessel in the normal fashion. As the hang-off strop nears the vessel’s side rail whilst the hose is being lowered, the crew will catch the eye of the strop, by hand or by boat hook, and fit the eye over one of the pins. The crane driver will continue to lower until the strop takes the weight and he will then lower the hose end into the safe haven where the ship’s crew will unhook the hose end. This leaves the crew free to manoeuvre the hose end onto the manifold whilst the hose is securely hung off at the ship’s side.
Passing the hose back to the installation is the reverse procedure. The hose end is attached to the crane hook via the lifting sling and, if possible, the ship’s crew lift the hose over the side between crane hook and hang-off strop. The crane driver is then given the signal to lift and the hose can be lifted clear of the ship with no one in attendance at the safe haven.
Securing the hose this way is simple and very effective, in comparison to making the hose fast by lashing it to the ship’s side rail; Crew exposure to a suspended load is vastly reduced and minimal; Fingers are not exposed to the same risk when lashing the hose; Passing the hose back is much safer, as personnel involvement after hooking the hose end on is virtually eliminated; Minimum alterations are required to operate the system.