10 Safe Practices To Avoid Accident During Mooring Operation


Mooring operation is one of the important tasks that seafarers have to perform on the ship’s deck. Ships enter and leave ports regularly. Tying up a ship when alongside a berth or another vessel is potentially a very hazardous operation unless simple and effective safety procedures are followed.

10 points to remember

Mentioned below are ten points that must be considered while handing mooring operation on ships:

  1. Planning- Prior to beginning the operations it is to exactly plan the procedure, creating a mooring plan. Mooring operations require three parties to work together, the forward and aft mooring teams and the bridge personnel.

During planning, the following points are to be considered:

  •       Nature of the berth
  •       The availability of quayside bollards.
  •       The expected environmental conditions throughout the stay including the height of the tide.
  •       The windage area of the vessel
  •       The expected cargo operations
  •       Whether tugs will be required.
  •       How the vessel is expected to come alongside and the order that lines are to go ashore.
  •    Whether a vessel will be double-banking alongside another vessel or another vessel will be required to double-bank alongside its own vessel.

2. Mooring Station- In order to ensure the safety of personnel working at the mooring station, the area should be well lit, clean, free from oil leaks and the deck suitably prepared to prevent slips or trips. The area should also be free of any obstructions which could hinder the view of the mooring deck or which could force personnel into a snap-back zone or an area where they could become trapped.

3. Inspection And Maintenance- Mooring equipment inspections, maintenance, and testing should be included in the vessel’s planned maintenance system in order that all equipment and fittings are inspected regularly on an ongoing basis and prior to every use.

The ongoing maintenance program should include the following points:

  •       Ensure that all rollers, sheaves, winch clutches, and external gears are regularly greased.
  •       Ensure that grease is fully penetrating bearings and that parts move freely.
  •       Check of hydraulic lines for leaks or signs of damage.
  •       Check for damage or defects to windlass or mooring winch controls.
  •       Check of windlass and mooring winch brake.
  •       Check that surfaces in contact with mooring lines are smooth, clean and free from contaminants.
  •       Check that fitted stoppers are in good condition.
  •       Ensure SWL’s are clearly marked on bitts, bollards, and fairleads.

4. Mooring Lines- The size, type and condition of the mooring lines in use play a significant role in the effectiveness of the mooring system. It is therefore critical that mooring lines are maintained and inspected on a regular basis. When handling mooring lines particular attention should be paid to signs of fraying, any damage, and signs of corrosion. Ensure that the allowable breaking load in any of the mooring lines does not increase 55% of its Maximum Breaking Load (MBL). This is to prevent the line from breaking.

5. Fenders- Fenders are also inspected before starting mooring operation. Fenders act as a ‘dock bumper’ to absorb collision energy and minimize the reaction force to both surfaces. This prevents damage to the quay and ship during contact.

6. Weather Condition- A weather condition that involves the wind and current condition should be considered before the mooring operation. Future weather conditions will be challenging for the mooring operation, so the Master must have the details of current and future weather data before commencing the mooring operation.

7. Awareness of Snap Back Zone and Rope Bight- All personnel involved with the mooring operation should be aware of the snapback zones and rope bight.

8. Avoid Mixed Mooring- Mixed mooring is extremely dangerous. Generally, mooring lines of the same size and material should be used for all leads. The use of mixed moorings comprising full-length synthetic ropes used in conjunction with wire should be avoided.  If a synthetic rope and a wire are used then the wire will carry almost the entire load while the synthetic rope carries practically none.

9. Tool Box Meeting- The toolbox meeting is very important, not to be avoided. In this meeting, details of the plan, the potential challenges, and what mitigation measures will be followed are discussed. The meeting will also provide safety instructions for those who will conduct the operations, so in case of emergency, they will be able to tackle the situation and highlight that all mooring area is a snap-back hazardous area.

10. Post Mooring- After the mooring process, the checking of the load on mooring ropes and the condition of the rope is important. Any of the mooring lines are not more than 55% of its Maximum Breaking Load (MBL) to prevent the rope from snapping and causing undesired accidents.

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