What is the Ship Arrestor Project?

Accidents and mishaps to vessels in the high seas results in the vessels (mainly tankers) becoming adrift. Such stray drifting stands to cause potentially irreparable damages to the maritime ecology, along with posing several other threats.

The ship arrestor project was conceptualised and developed in order to ensure absolutely minimum damage and loss to the marine ecology in case of vessel accidents from uncontrollable drifting. The project is the result of the coming together of several renowned maritime establishments from various European countries and is funded primarily by the EU (European Union).

The project bears the success of extensive researching and analysis carried out by European experts who methodically and systematically evaluated the device’s practical usability. The ship arrestor project was primarily chosen for its technical soundness and thoroughness after being deployed in emergency situations in the high seas. EU opted to proceed with further development of the project after thoroughly considering the salient features of nearly 1,200 similar projects. Accordingly, the ship arrestor gadget was developed and commercially launched by the European engineering corporation Miko Marine in the year 2010.


Fully deployed by helicopters during emergencies, the ship arrestor consists of a long towing rope attached to a chained lariat (lasso) on one end and connected to an inflatable sea anchoring system on the other end. When needed, the helicopter would join the chained lariat to a winch at the ship’s prow thus allowing the towing rope to extend and effectively inflate the anchor at its other end. The entire lassoing and the sequent tugging movement ensure that the ship’s redirected against the wind, which thus effectively reduces the speed of the vessel’s driftage leading to considerable damage limitation.


In the three years since its commercial initiation, the ship arrestor device has proved its worth in the maritime sector. Its technical characteristics include:

  • Lighter in load, leading to easy transportation and deployment by copters
  • Exceptionally strong allowing for tugging of vessels with really huge DWTs
  • Effective in mobilisation and operation providing necessary assistance to emergency towing ships
  • Reducing the offshore driftage of the ship by over 50%

The ship arrestor project was based on an earlier model of a vessel arrestor device. The researchers engaged in the project carefully eliminated the problematic areas in the previous arrestor design to further enhance the practicality of the present-day ship arrestor. To make the gadget viable to all major vessel types, the prototype of the arrestor device was subjected to several modifications to suit the vessels’ requirements. These alterations and the resultant overwhelming success of the ship arrestor device across all ship classes have in-turn helped the ship arrestor gadget gain more popularity and acceptance in the shipping sector.

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References: Ship arrestor

Image credits : Europa

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