Improper mooring of ships can have serious consequences. When noticing some possible mooring arrangement problems with a vessel at birth, an attentive observer took a picture and sent it to The Nautical Institute for its Mars Report. Can you spot the errors?

The picture was featured in The Nautical Institute’s latest Mars Report. The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses, which are published in its Mars Report (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

A major risk when mooring, is the breaking of mooring ropes. The resulting snapback of such a rope can be lethal on impact.

Also read: ‘Safe working with mooring lines needs a turnaround in thinking’

Some of the possible problems the picture shows are:

  • Improper leads of the mooring ropes around rollers including full turns and chafing situations.
  • Ropes left on warping drum ends instead of being transferred onto mooring bitts.
  • Too many turns on the working part of the split drum winch.
  • No safe working load (SWL) marking on mooring bitts.
  • Different types of ropes (so different breaking limit) working in same direction.

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Once again, new eyes can see hazards that may not be apparent to crew who are desensitised to the hazard.
  • Unfortunately, poor design is also often at the basis of improper mooring patterns; something which is often overlooked during building.

Also read: Dutch Safety Board: Supervising mooring cannot be combined with other duties

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202119, that are part of Report Number 342. A selection of this Report has also been published in SWZ|Maritime’s May 2021 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.