There have been reports of mooring ropes containing pieces of metal and tags entwined within the yarns. In its latest Mars Report, The Nautical Institute warns of the hazards of such ropes in its latest Mars Report and urges crew to inspect berthing lines at every use.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

During berthing operations at a loading terminal, the line-handling crew were surprised to find metal rings and tags entwined within the yarns and strands of a vessel’s lines. These objects present a potential catch point and/or finger entrapment hazard for anyone handling the lines. There is also a risk that these objects could detach and become projectiles when lines are under load or when lines are being run.

This was the fourth vessel in six months to have lines with such hazards. The terminal authorities grew concerned and made a Mars Report. It is likely that the rings and tags are items associated with materials used to pack the lines themselves. It is also possible that these objects could have become embedded within the lines during usage.

Also read: ‘Treat mooring lines as you would a loaded gun’

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • When bringing a new line into service, ensure all packing and extraneous materials are removed from the line before use.
  • It is good practice to observe and inspect berthing lines at every use; as they go out and when they come on board. The inspection should cover the general state of the line, but be aware of any objects that may embed themselves into the fibre of the rope during usage.

Also read: Nautical Institute: Stay out of the ‘line of fire’ when working with mooring lines

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202233, that are part of Report Number 358. A selection of this Mars Report was also published in SWZ|Maritime’s September 2022 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published (in full) 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.

Also read: Hasty mooring sees accidents in the Port of Rotterdam increase in 2021