How Baltic Mooring of Ship is Done?

What happens when there is a strong onshore wind and you have to berth a ship without the assistance of tugs to a pier or jetty that is not strong enough to bear the impact or is not sufficiently ‘fendered’?

In such a situations, the master or the pilot takes the recourse of using the ship’s anchor as well as the wires available on board in a specific way to minimize the impact of the fall. This is done by mooring ship in such a way where a vessel is berthed alongside the quay by employing a stern mooring shackled to the offshore anchor cable in the region of the ‘ganger length’. When approaching the berth, the offshore anchor is deployed and the weight on the cable and the stern mooring act in unison to hold the vessel just off the quay.

Baltic mooring is a combination mooring of a vessel alongside the berth which employs a stern mooring shackled to the offshore anchor cable in the region of the “ganger length”. When approaching the berth, the offshore anchor is deployed and the weight on the cable and the stern mooring act to hold the vessel just of the quay. Baltic mooring is a safe option to berth a ship on a windy day.

baltic mooring

Now, there is a preparatory process to be undertaken before venturing for the Baltic moor.

– At first a 30 mm wire is passed from the poop deck on the offshore side from the outside of the hull and clear of any protrusions like the gangway, the pilot ladder etc.

– The anchor is cockbilled, i.e., released a little from the hawse pipe before finally letting it go, and a man is lowered with a bosun’s chair (a seat suspended from the ship to perform any work outside the ship’s hull) to tie up the wire to the anchor with a shackle at about the ganger’s length.

– The other end of the wire is taken ‘on turn’ upon a mooring winch through a bight.

– When the ship is abreast of the berth and falling on it rapidly, the anchor is dropped keeping trickle headway so that the anchor holds.

– When the anchor is snubbed, the wire from the stern that goes in with the anchor, gets taught and effectively holds the fall of the stern.

– The anchor chain is then slowly payed off and simultaneously the wire from the stern, while the on-shore wind pushes the vessel horizontally to the berth.

– As soon as the vessel is close -springs, head and stern lines are passed ashore with the heaving lines and the scope of the anchor adjusted accordingly so as to bring the ship slowly alongside the berth.

– Normally the anchor is dropped 70-100 feet off the berth depending on the wind force and the tonnage of the vessel.

Watch the video below to understand the process:

Do you have more information on the baltic mooring process of ships? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. frequently done in Fos harbour in France, without the cable, but basicly the idea is the same.
    control the wind strength.

  2. we have done this without aft steel rope.but that time i didn’t knw that is called baltic moor.basic purpose is almost the same.

  3. despite it looks very nice practice but holding ground in strong wind condition to be considered as important factor also in large ship it will be very difficult task to make fast aft wire to anchor.

  4. I’d like to see a video of this done rather than an animation. I have never seen a full Baltic Moor performed despite 40 years at sea. I notice the author is a Kolkata pilot and it would interesting to know how often he has carried out this manouvre in his pilotage district. I think most vessels have used an anchor as an aid to berthing and to assist holding a vessel off a weak berth, but this Baltic Moor looks like something that would be useful only for small vessels.

  5. is this applicable for ships ??? maybe but the system seems complicated and very difficult to do specially if you are berthing a very restricted space to maneuver. in drawing perhaps can be done easily. for a purpose and planning every master, has their own personal view. safety is always the number one priority. anchors is used and assist holding and control of a vessel, but this style of mooring ???

  6. With regard to the comments above. The Baltic Moor is of most use to small ships, perhaps without a bow thruster, with limited power and perhaps with limited engine movements. (Volgobalt and Balticsky types). The moor is best undertaken in low wind conditions, as a preparation, knowing that the prevailing wind may stop a ship from sailing if the wind was too strong. Having laid down an anchor and cable, the master has a method of lifting his ship off the berth without tug assistance. (Small ports may not have a tug or the company may wish to avoid the cost.)
    The method is best suited to coasters and comes from an era before Becker rudders, CPP and Bow Thrusters.

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