Safety Paramount in Towing Operations

Recent accident investigation reports suggest that merchant seamen continue to be injured during mooring and towing operations.

“A clear plan of operation and good communications between the tug and tow, prior to operations commencing, will reduce much of the risk. Ship managers need to ensure their crews are fully briefed to ensure the successful performance of the operation and that all safety issues have been highlighted,” the UK-based Maritime Progress said in a release.

Although all ships are different to some degree, with varying equipment for mooring and towage, there are some basic principles which are common to all and which allow the towing or mooring operation to be done in a safe and efficient way.

It is easy to become complacent, when the towing or mooring operation is a frequent event and, because, of this, there is a constant need to be reminded of safe practice. When towing and mooring operations are less frequent, crew have an equal need to be reminded about associated hazards and safe practice prior to the operation.

In co-operation with Svitzer Towage Ltd,  Maritime Progress Marine Technical Manager, Captain Andy Goldsmith and technical artist Captain Louis Roskell spent some time at Felixstowe witnessing harbour towage operations first hand from the tSafety Paramount in Towing Operations2ug perspective.

Subsequently, Maritime Progress completed a review and upgrade to their ISM Code Safety Training Poster. The illustrated poster entitled “Towing – Recommended procedures for safe towing operations”, utilises bullet points to sequentially move through the towing operation and lists the actions required both on board the tug and the ship.

This provides an insight for crew into the operations onboard both the towing and towed vessel. The poster serves as a useful permanent reminder and reference document for discussion between crew members prior to towing operations taking place.

Press Release, August 6, 2014

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