Majority of Mooring Accidents Caused by Lines Parting

mooring line

Published Oct 4, 2015 5:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) latest safety bulletin “Thinking - mooring safety” details AMSA's mooring data, describes mooring incidents and provides examples of ways industry can improve follow-ups to incidents.

In the last five years, AMSA received 227 mooring related incident reports. Fifty-one, 22 percent, of these incidents resulted in injury. While there were no mooring related fatalities recorded during this period in Australia, mooring fatalities have continued to occur internationally.

The analysis shows that design and equipment safety played a significant role in 62 percent of the reported mooring incidents. Of particular note is that 51 percent of the identified design and equipment safety factors were the result of a parted mooring line. Shipboard conditions, such as heavy weather, workload and crew competency played a role in 22 percent of mooring incidents. Individual actions and organizational influences played a role in nine and seven percent of incidents, respectively.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has investigated a number of mooring incidents in Australian waters and has identified communication as a common contributing factor.

At times, little consideration is given to the increased risk that exists when various work groups do not have a clear understanding of each other’s tasks and actions. The communication within a single work group (for example, a bridge team), is relatively straightforward. However, when a number of teams or groups involving the bridge team, ship mooring parties, tug crews, lines boats and shore gangs are involved, effective communication is critical. These groups are separated by distance and line of sight, while language, culture, radio communication, background noise and other factors can further complicate matters.

Some key points from the bulletin are:

• make use of the hierarchy of controls and always try to eliminate hazards where possible
• ensure all equipment, especially mooring lines, are maintained in good condition
• maintain clear and effective communications between all stations
• take the opportunity to learn from incidents, whether they are yours or others
• be proactive and identify weaknesses that could lead to accidents during normal operations.

The safety bulletin can be found here.