Report: Mooring Line Struck And Fatally Injured Teal Bay’s Chief Officer

On 30 August 2021, Teal Bay’s chief officer was fatally injured when he was struck by a mooring line when it sprang out of an open roller fairlead. Teal Bay was moored alongside an anchored bulk carrier, and it was being moved forward by tensioning the aft spring to allow loading to be completed. During the loading operation, Teal Bay’s mooring lines had developed an upward lead due to the change in freeboard between the two vessels and, as the line was tensioned to move Teal Bay, its upward lead angle became too great for the open fairlead to contain it.

The investigation found that the use of an open fairlead was inappropriate during the transfer of cargo where a freeboard differential created the hazard of an upward lead on the mooring lines. The chief officer was struck because he was standing in a hazardous area close to a tensioned mooring line and the operation to move Teal Bay forward was attempted with insufficient crew and had not been risk assessed.

cargo vessel
Image courtesy of Hans-Peter Schroeder and

The MAIB conducted this investigation on behalf of the Isle of Man Ship Registry in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the MAIB and the Red Ensign Group Category 1 registries of Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Gibraltar.

Safety Issues

  • the mooring arrangement was unsuitable for loading from alongside another vessel as the fairlead was open and could not contain the upward lead of the mooring line
  • the operation to move Teal Bay forward was attempted with insufficient planning and assigned crew
  • the lack of a coordinated and organised emergency response created delays in the chief officer being assessed by a medical professional


A recommendation (2022/128) has been made to the Isle of Man Ship Registry to promulgate the safety lessons in this report to vessels on the register.

Reference: GOV.UK

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