Safety Alert - Mooring Line Entanglement

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 09:15
See incident update below the original notice


Original Notice

This incident involved a linesman letting go of an AHT from one of the member’s berths.

The linesman’s foot became entangled in the rope tail of the mooring line causing him to be pulled off the quay and resulting in him being suspended from the bow of the ship, prior to being lowered into the water and recovered by his colleagues to the quayside.

In this instance, the mooring tail is a smaller piece of rope attached to the eye of the main mooring rope. The eye and tail of a mooring line are passed through the fairlead and the tail is then hooked by a linesman leaning over the bulwark, who will then attach a messenger which is thrown to the team at the quayside. Our understanding is that these tails are easier to work with than hooking a heavy mooring rope for tying on.

This information is disseminated to all PSS members so that they can;
1) Review their risk assessments and method statements for this type of operation and
2) Be aware of the hazards associated with rope tails on mooring lines, regardless of how short they may appear.


Incident Update

Following on from this man over-board incident we now have further details on the findings of the investigation.

What happened:

  • During the unmooring of a vessel, a linesman was caught in the rope tail of the mooring line and dragged over the side as the rope was winched up.
  • These rope tails are used to help attached the messenger line to the mooring line when the bulwarks of the vessel prevent easy access to the heavier mooring rope.

Immediate causes:

  • the Linesman used incorrect rope handling techniques and stood in a rope bight

  • the Vessel crew member pulled mooring line using winch, with no line of sight to linesman.

Root causes:

  • Lack of formal training and competency assurance.
  • Inadequate job planning.
  • Poor communication.
  • Inadequate procedures and risk assessment.
  • Poor risk awareness.

Corrective actions taken:

  • Developed internal training and competency assurance programme
  • Investigated and implemented external training
  • Supervisors made aware of the requirements to ensure toolbox talks/prework briefings are recorded – mooring/unmooring checklist used for this
  • Confirmed communications with vessel crew members prior to commencing operations – mooring/unmooring checklist
  • RA and procedure reviewed, and
  • VHF radios procured and a minimum of two to be available at either end of the vessel, for use by mooring team.

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