Case Study: Mooring Line Pays Out Too Fast, Results In Forearm Fracture

A tanker was berthing at a terminal. At the aft mooring station, a crew member saw that the slack mooring rope was not feeding out the fairlead and he tried to expedite the feed to the mooring tug.

While he was handling the rope slacks on deck, the rope started to pay out and then accelerated outboard through the fairlead.

The officer in charge (OIC) of the aft mooring station did not notice the developing hazard of the fast-moving mooring line as his attention was on the attending mooring tug.

Case Study_ Mooring Line Pays Out Too Fast
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The rope caught the crew member’s arm as it slid out, causing a fracture to his left forearm.

First aid was provided and the crew member was sent for shore examination, where it was recommended that he be repatriated.

Lessons learned

  • Crew should be advised not to take any actions while handling mooring lines unless the OIC has been advised and the action has been approved.
  • OICs of mooring operations need to closely monitor crew members to ensure they do not become complacent or otherwise inadvertently undertake a dangerous act, putting themselves and others in a dangerous situation.
  • A fast moving, heavy mooring rope presents a clear hazard. If a mooring line is too heavy to control, take one or two turns around a warping drum and then pay it out using an extra crewman to ease off turns around the drum.


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