A Suezmax came alongside a docked VLCC to carry out an STS operation. While the hoses were being connected, a supporting rope on one of the four fenders broke.
The Safety Inspector was informed and immediately carried out a visual inspection together with the vessel’s staff. The vessel requested to suspend operations in order to evaluate the situation; the terminal suggested that they should continue with making hose connections as the situation was under control.
As the hose connections were being completed a second supporting rope broke. This was rectified and cargo transfer operations took place without further incident.
The investigation found that the supporting ropes for the fenders were in doubtful condition.
- In this case, the terminal wanted to continue operations even though there had been signs that all was not right. The failure of the first fender rope was a first warning and the second failure a definitive demonstration of less than ideal safety.
- Sooner or later in our careers, we all are pressured to make do with a situation even though signs are evident that safety is not respected. Resist these pressures and always side with safety.