IMO Approves Measures to Improve Mooring Safety
The IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved measures to improve the safety of seafarers during mooring operations when it met between June 5 and 14, 2019.
The measures approved by the Committee, based on proposals originally submitted by Denmark, entail an amended SOLAS regulation and guidelines intended to improve the current situation where accidents and unsafe work situations frequently happen during mooring operations. The measures will now be circulated to member states with a view to adoption at the next committee meeting in 2020.
New requirements will require appropriate and safe-to-use designs of mooring arrangements and introduce a maintenance and inspection regime, as well as proper documentation. They are incorporated in the draft amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8 on Towing and mooring equipment. The requirements are supported by two new sets of draft guidelines, the draft guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements and the selection of appropriate mooring equipment and fittings for safe mooring and the draft guidelines for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment including lines; as well as the existing, but revised guidance on shipboard towing and mooring equipment.
The work to develop the draft SOLAS amendment and related guidelines followed proposals submitted to MSC 95 (2015). The submissions highlighted that mooring operations continue to pose a risk to ships' crews, but also shore-based mooring personnel. It is also one of the work situations where crew members are exposed to excessive dynamic forces (snap-back), detrimental heavy manual work processes and the influence of unfavorable weather conditions that may further hamper the safe and healthy accomplishment of the port call.
Accidents are frequent, with fatalities reported annually. For example, from 1997 to 2013, 402 accidents were registered on Danish ships, with four fatalities and 43 injuries reported.