Pachuca – Conflict and Snap Back Zones and Design

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Jul 102014

pachucoConflicting goals and poor communications with unseen crewmembers are not conducive to safe handling of mooring lines, as a recent investigation by Denmark’s Maritime Accident Investigation Board, DMAIB, shows. The deck arrangements probably didn’t help much either, producing uncertainty at a critical time when crews are under pressure and mooring lines under extreme tension.

Pachuca, an Antigua & Barbuda flagged containership was engaged in regular trade between ports in Northern Europe and called at some six ports a week. The master and crew had been in Esbjerg several times before and were therefore familiar with the harbour area and mooring conditions The port stay was planned to last a few hours.
After discharging was complete at 0445, loading commenced and was completed at 0615. Shortly after the ship was ready for departure. The chief officer and the master were on the bridge and on the enclosed forecastle were the bosun, one ordinary seaman and one able seaman. Continue reading »

Sea Melody MOB/Mooring Fatality: Communications, Planning and a Thoughtless Moment

 Accident Investigation, Accident report, MAIB, Man Overboard, maritime safety news, mooring  Comments Off on Sea Melody MOB/Mooring Fatality: Communications, Planning and a Thoughtless Moment
Jul 012014

SeaMelodyWe’ve all had them: Those moments of thoughtlessness when knowledge, experience and even reason seem to take a holiday and we get hurt and kick ourselves for doing something we knew to be unsafe but didn’t think about it and wonder why we did so. Sergey Gaponov will not be wondering why he stepped on a bight of rope: He was pulled overboard and has not be found.

Sergey was a crewman on the general cargo ship Sea Melody. He was a 40 year old Russian able seaman and had obtained a Certificate of Competency as a rating, forming part of a navigational watch, in 2002. This was his third consecutive tour of duty on Sea Melody which he had re-joined in November 2013. He was well regarded by his shipmates and had received positive reports on his conduct and ability during his time on the ship.

Sea Melody had discharged her cargo of steel products at Groveport on the River Trent and was required to move to another berth to load another cargo. At the time mandatory pilotage was not required for vessels moving from one berth to another.  letter of guidance to the master from the port operator did not cover berth-to-berth movement.

Continue reading »

Jun 242014

ID-100141843Painted capstan or windlass drum ends can create hazards, says a safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum. According to the auditor writing to MSF, the dangers are under-appreciated and says that such drums should not be prettied up with paintwork but many masters do not seethe danger.

Some time ago the writer was involved in investigating an incident where a seaman had damaged his wrist during a mooring operation. Part of the root cause was identified as resulting from the capstan drum end having been painted. The last eight ships audited by the writer all had painted capstan or windlass drum ends and two masters argued that there is nothing wrong with painting them.

The problem associated with this practice is that the paint itself is the hazard. Continue reading »

Buoy Too Close To Fibre Line Led To Wandering MODU

 maritime safety news, mooring, mooring, MSF, Offshore, Offshore, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Buoy Too Close To Fibre Line Led To Wandering MODU
Jul 162012

Mooring line No. 5 after the accident

Marine Safety Forum warns that a MODU was moored with eight mooring lines and connected to the well. A loud noise was heard originating from aft, port side column and it was observed on the tension monitoring that the mooring line no. 5 lost its initial tension of 145mT down to 45mT.

The MODU got an excursion of 12 meters from initial position and the MODU tilted 2,3 degrees. Angle on lower flex joint was less than 2 degrees. Ballasting system was run to stabilize the MODU and the thrusters operated in manual mode to re-locate the MODU back to its initial position prior to the mooring line failure.

It was identified some time thereafter that the fiber rope insert in mooring line no. 5 had failed. The triggering cause was that the subsurface buoy shackle/chain came into contact with the fibre rope insert and lead to loss of integrity of the fiber rope insert.

Critical Factors (CF) that lead to the incident:
CF1: Subsurface buoy shackle and chain fastened too close to the fiber line
CF2: Rotational movement of the mooring line lead to the subsurface buoy arrangement getting tangled up into the fiber line (Fig 2)


1. Install subsurface buoy to the bottom chain segment by “snotter” shackle in a safe distance to avoid the subsurface buoy to reach the fiber line segment connection point

2. Install high tension swivels in both ends of the fiber line insert

3. Evaluate use of swivels during test tension to avoid twist in pre-installed anchor lines

4. Assess the use of ROV survey when the MODU has achieved work tension in the mooring lines

5. All parties involved in the rig move process, is recommended to make themself familiar with industry learning related to mooring line failures and by doing so, bring learning forward in risk assessments and point-out potential weaknesses in rig move documentation issued for review

Rig Specific Corrective Action Plans to be developed, tracked and closed.

Download Safety Alert

Apr 022012

Open holes, a hazard when mooring

‘Watch your step’ is a lesson learned by an AB at the cost of a fractured foot while assisting with mooring lines according to a safety alert from Marine Safety Forum.

Says the alert: While vessel had to move approximately 300m to new berth, AB was on quay wall assisting with mooring lines. Able Seaman let go lines and walked to new position to make ready the other mooring lines. Able Seaman fell in unmarked drain or manhole on quay wall.

Brief Description of Root Cause:

No grid over deep drain or manhole, no hazard marking around the hole. Able Seaman not familiar with the area.

Learnings and Preventative Actions:

Watch your step when walking around all areas, especially when not familiar with the area. All areas should be examined so that slips trips and falls hazards are identified prior to commencement of any operations. All hazardous areas should be clearly marked. Having identified hazards, Risk Assessments are to be carried out. Use the risk assessment in consultation with the crew

Download safety flash here

Freemantle Express Mooring Fatality: Weak Lines, Poor Design

 Accident, Accident report, fatality, maritime safety news, mooring  Comments Off on Freemantle Express Mooring Fatality: Weak Lines, Poor Design
Mar 062012

Mooring operations continue to take too high a toll

Mooring incidents continue to take a horrific toll on seafarers. As the UK’s MAIB report on its latest investigation into a mooring incident aboard Freemantle Express, oversights big and small lead to devastating consequences.

Mooring injuries come in two varieties – severe and fatal. In the case of Freemantle Express it was fatal, an OS lost his life.

Says the report summary: “On 15 July 2011, Fremantle Express, a UK-registered container vessel, was berthing in the port of Veracruz when a headline parted under tension. The broken mooring line recoiled and struck an ordinary seaman (OS) who was standing on the forecastle. The seaman died of his injuries.

The vessel was moving astern along her berth at the time of the accident, assisted by two tugs.
The MAIB investigation found that: the combined effect of the vessel’s movement astern and her bow paying off the berth had resulted in a snatch loading on the mooring rope; the rope  had previously suffered abrasion damage that had lowered its residual strength to less than 66% of its original strength; the OS had stepped into the snap-back zone of the rope; and no warning had been given to him by other members of the mooring party”.

Among the MAIB findings:

Continue reading »

Forth Guardsman Mooring Fatality – Remember Basic Safety

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Sep 072011

Standing on a bight led to being crushed against the ship's rail

Mooring accidents are often nasty accidents. Enormous energies built up in mooring wires can be released suddenly and unexpectedly and the result may be death or horrific injury. As the fatality aboard the landingcraft Forth Guardman on March this year demonstrates, safety awareness is at a premium in mooring operations.

Says the investigation report from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Board, MAIB: “an
able seaman (AB) working on board the Briggs Marine Contractors Limited (BMC) landing craft Forth Guardsman, became trapped between a mooring wire and the ship’s rail during a mooring
operation. The weight on the wire could not be released quickly enough, and the AB was pulled over the guardrail and into the sea: he was recovered, but died from his injuries.

“The investigation found that insufficient manpower had been assigned for the mooring operation, some risks had not been identified properly, seamanship practices on board were poor, the AB had stood in an open bight which closed around him, and emergency communication procedures were

BMC conducted its own safety investigation and as a result is undertaking a number of actions to
prevent a reoccurrence. In light of these actions the MAIB has not made any recommendations”

MAIB Report

See Also:

Continue reading »

No Link No Moor – Mooring Link Failure

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Aug 272011

Mooring link had flared open

MAC is pleased to pass on this editted  internal company investigation into the separation of a mooring wire from its rope tail during the mooring of a tanker due to the failure of a MANDAL shackle.  Periodic checks did not prevent the incident. The Safety Management System procedures were lacking and did not identify the need to carry out the necessary checks on mooring equipment lines and fittings prior to mooring the vessel.

The tanker was scheduled to berth at San Francisco, Martinez Shell Terminal. To position the vessel it was agreed to pass one forward spring and one after spring line as first lines. The vessel is equipped with mooring wires of 38mm diameter on drums and fitted with an 11 metre polyamide mooring tail.

The wire and tail are joined together using a MANDAL Mooring link.

At 0400 hours it was ascertained that the vessel was in position and both stations were asked to tighten the spring lines and secure. When the forward station was tightening its spring line to secure it reported that the mooring wire had separated from the rope tail.

When the rope tail was retrieved it was observed that the mooring link had flared open. The roller and securing pin was missing and presumed lost to sea. Continue reading »

Mooring Fatality: Flumar Brasil

 Accident, Accident report, fatality, maritime safety news, mooring  Comments Off on Mooring Fatality: Flumar Brasil
Jun 062011

Area A (red circle) – Main Deck mooring station (STBD) 1 – Accident Area (Location of victim – red figure) 2 – Stern Ring (Location of the double securing of the After Bow Spring line) 3 – Forward Ring (Single securing of the After Bow Spring line). Source: Brazilian Maritime Authority

Mooring lines are notoriously deadly. If someone’s standing the way when one snaps the chances of death or permanent injury are very high. Brazil’s report on the fatality of a deckhand aboard the MV Flumar Brasil on 27 September 2010 is fairly typical.

As deckhand bent to make a figure-of-eight in the stern eye (Photo 02 Area A) he
was hit by the after bow spring line which jumped off the mooring bitt . The impact on the forehead removed his helmet and threw him against a closed chock causing his death.

Says the report: “Investigations into the circumstances of casualties that have occurred have shown that accidents on board ships are in most cases caused by an insufficient knowledge of, or disregard for, the need to take precautions”.

“It should be policy onboard that inexperienced personnel who are to be involved in mooring operations should be under the supervision and direction of an experienced seafarer, properly trained to follow the correct procedures, and both should be aware of who is undertaking that duty. So, despite mooring be a dangerous part of a vessel’s operation, it can be done safely when those involved are properly trained, supervised and follow the correct procedures. Continue reading »