MAC has previously posted on the issue of weighted monkeyfists but as the Facebook page of the Maritime Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme, CHIRP, shows, the problem is no going away. Indeed, the photo reproduced here courtesy Robert Wilkinson, indicates that the word isn’t getting through – two of them come from the same vessel even after a complaint was made.
The knot is intended to give mass to the end of a line to improve both reach and accuracy when throwing a line. Getting hit by lumps of metal wrapped in a monkeyfist is dangerous, and Britannia P&I Club and West of England P&I Club have issued warnings following incidents, including ones resulting in injuries.
In some ports, like the Port of London, weighterd monkeyfists are illegal and masters have been prosecuted for allowing them to be used. As CHIRP point out: “the fist should be made only with rope and should not contain added weighted material C.O.S.W.P. 25.3.2. – Please think of the person on the receiving end of the line”.
The problem is unlikely to go away. Britannia’s Riskwatch observed: “Ships have increased considerably in size over the last few decades and the horizontal and vertical distance that crews are expected to throw heaving lines has probably also increased as a result. It is often not an easy job to get heaving lines across to a tug or to the berth, especially in strong winds.This can
prompt crew to insert heavy materials into the monkey’s fist so that better distances can be attained when throwing the heaving line from the deck”.
There may be alternatives, like this device mentioned by Britannia.
Throwing rings of soft material have also been suggested.
Give us your suggestions below.