Enhanced Safety Measures Essential For Mooring Operations

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  • Mooring operations are among the most hazardous activities for ship and shore personnel, as evidenced by recent data from the International Group of P&I Clubs, which reported 858 injuries and 31 fatalities related to mooring accidents over a five-year period up to 2021.
  • West of England P&I Club’s internal analysis also revealed that approximately 5% of all severe personal injuries occur during mooring or towing operations, with nearly half involving parting lines.

Importance of Safety Measures

These alarming statistics underscore the critical need for comprehensive safety measures during mooring operations. Proper maintenance according to manufacturer instructions, regular inspections, and adequate familiarization and training, as outlined in the new SOLAS guidelines, are crucial for mitigating risks.

The SOLAS II-I Reg. 3-8 ‘Towing and mooring equipment’ was amended by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC.102) in 2020, resulting in two new guidelines (MSC.1/Circ.1619 and MSC.1/Circ.1620) and the revision of MSC.1/Circ.1175. These guidelines came into force on January 1, 2024.

Vital Role of Product Selection

Mooring lines must be chosen with utmost care. Passive measures such as proven anti-snap-back technology should be obligatory to minimize risks. The Timm Snap Back Arrestor (SBA™), engineered by Wilhelmsen, is designed to reduce the risk of snap back and protect both crew and shore personnel. Introduced in 2019 after seven years of intensive research and development, the SBA™ has undergone extensive testing, including live tests in simulated real-world environments.

Challenges with Imitation Products

Unfortunately, many unverified imitations of SBA™ pose significant risks. These imitations may fail to function as described, generating a false sense of safety. Wilhelmsen Ships Service frequently receives feedback from concerned customers about these imitations. Testing has shown that none of these imitation products have successfully passed rigorous safety tests.

To mitigate these risks, it is essential to prioritize established and verified solutions such as the genuine SBA™ by Wilhelmsen.

Setting the Standard

In November 2022, DNV awarded Wilhelmsen’s SBA™ a statement of qualified technology after successful completion of an extensive testing program. This marked the first time an SBA solution was recognized by any class society. The testing protocol validated the robust functionality of the technology under various real-world scenarios.

Proven Field Performance

Since integrating the SBA™ into its mooring portfolio five years ago, Wilhelmsen has delivered over 30,000 SBA™-equipped ropes worldwide. The technology has been endorsed by ship owners, crews, port terminal personnel, and other industry stakeholders for its effectiveness in preventing major accidents.

Safety First

Wilhelmsen urges vessel operators to ensure that any snap-back prevention solution they choose has undergone real-life testing and third-party validation. Anything less could seriously compromise the safety of vessel crews and shore personnel.

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Source: Wilhelmsen