Marine Safety Forum has warned of an increase in incidents when manoeuvring in port or berthed alongside including contact with vessels during river transits; contact with vessels whilst berthing; damage to moorings and gangways whilst alongside in port.
Says MSF: “A critical factor relating to these incidents has been seasonal weather or a lack of understanding of actual conditions. All of the above could have been avoided if good seamanship practices and forward planning had been conducted.
“At this time of the year we see an increase of flow in rivers due to the surrounding areas flooding
and the rivers in spate. This has a massive effect on the flow experienced in port entrances, turning basins and river berths. There also seems to be a tendency due to the weather that moorings and gangways are not physically monitored and tended due to a reluctance to go outside in the cold.
It is imperative that bridge teams monitor all weather, with particular attention to seasonal tidal changes. All information should be passed onto the relevant persons, including deck watchman, to ensure they are fully aware of the expected conditions.
Prior to manoeuvring in port, checks must be conducted and recorded as if the vessel was departing to sea. The Bridge Team must discuss with local services i.e. VTS, any relevant harbour information, this should also include tidal information as well as any local anomalies likely to be experienced.
During a recent incident investigation, Aberdeen VTS confirmed that it is are more than willing to share and provide local information on harbour conditions on request. Likewise, if any vessels have experienced problems, then this information should be shared with VTS to prevent incidents to other vessels.
Listed below are some common problems experienced whilst manoeuvring / berthed in port.
- Poor vessel positioning prior to and during transit
- Interaction during transit
- Insufficient vessel way / speed during transit
- Altering Azimuth propulsion with applied power set on
- Thruster capability reduction, due to strong tidal flows
- Insufficient understanding of equipment limitations / capability
- Insufficient equipment availability
- Unaware of traffic movements
- Failure to communicate concerns
- Vessel congestion (limited manoeuvring berthing space)
- Ship Handler inexperience
- Weather (strong winds, tide’s and poor visibility)
- Lack of monitoring of mooring and gangways (2 man operation required for tendering)
- Insufficient moorings deployed for weather conditions
- Incorrect position of gangways
Says MSF: “We would like all Bridge Teams to take time out to discuss the points raised, and provide any feedback on concerns or learning’s they can provide”.