Real Life Accident: Hand Injury During Mooring Operations

A bunker barge was approaching the port side of a Platform Supply/ multipurpose Vessel (PSV) at anchor, for bunkering operations. The crew of the bunker barge passed the ‘messenger line’ to a crewman onthe PSV, along with two mooring ropes. The crewman took the ropes and put the eyes of the two mooring ropes on each of the twin aft bollards and returned the messenger line to the bunker barge crew.

The crewman on the PSV, assuming the mooring operation was over, started to walk away. As he reached amidships the Master of the bunker barge got his attention and indicated that he should go aft again and shift one of the mooring ropes to a different bollard. As the barge crew slackened the mooring rope a little the PSV crewman tried to remove the rope. At that moment there was sudden tension on the rope (due to relative movement between the vessel and bunker barge) and his left palm got stuck between the rope eye and bollard. The PSV crewman suffered severe laceration injuries to his left hand.

mooring winches
Image for Representation Purpose only

First aid was given and the victim was taken to the ship’s hospital for further checks before going ashore for further treatment.

Lessons learned:

  • The mooring rope was handled without insisting on it being sufficiently slackened.
  • The PSV crewman failed to take into account the relative movement of the vessels, which led to his hand getting stuck between the eye of the rope and the bollard.
  • There was no very high frequency (VHF) communication established between the bridge of PSV and the bunker barge. The injured person was not in VHF communication with the duty officer and was taking instructions directly from the bunker barge Master and crew.
  • The PSV crewman was attending to the moorings alone which was contrary to the existing job hazard analysis which required attendance in pairs.


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