Lives may have been saved when a towmaster stopped a job in which two wires linked by a shackle with a missing pin were out under tension by a shackle with a missing pin. The incident is the subject of a safety alert by Marine Safety Forum.
After towing a rig for 14 days, the crew of an AHV was disconnecting the AHV tow wire from the tow bridle. On inspection the shackle connecting the two had a bent pin and after removing the safety pin and nut, it was still not releasing from the two sockets.
With the deck clear the AHV pulled in on the tow wire but this achieved nothing as the Karm fork and tow pins allow movement towards the drum. The master advised the deck crew to attach the port aft tugger to keep tension on the tow bridle, this was done but still the shackle would not release.
With all the equipment under tension the master instructed the crew to attach a second tugger wire, when the tow master intervened and stopped the job. The tow master then pointed out the danger of approaching two wires under tension being held together by a shackle with a missing pin.
• Selection of shackle for the 14 day tow as it clearly did not cope.
• Incorrect practise for releasing a bent shackle (bad seamanship.
• Complete lack of safety awareness by the Master and the crew.
Crew of the vessel has undergone a full safety review of the incident to ensure all possible lessons have been learnt.
The rig owners and vessel owners were also sent a full report.