Freemantle Express Mooring Fatality: Weak Lines, Poor Design

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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:

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