Samson Rope technical sales manager Robin Collett and K Line marine superintendent Jonathan Heath outlined how a partnership between equipment suppliers and operators can lead to safer mooring operations at the LNG Ship/Shore Interface Conference in London today.
In 2017 the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) released the results of its investigation into the 2015 Zarga incident at the South Hook LNG Terminal in Wales, in which a seafarer was severely injured by a strike to the head from a parted mooring rope. Based on the findings of the MAIB, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum developed a fourth version of the Mooring Equipment Guidelines, known as MEG4, released in July this year. Samson was directly involved in producing the updated guidelines.
Under MEG4, operators set out requirements for their mooring lines and manufacturers must suppy information on how their products are fit for purpose, Mr Collett explained. Operators must then develop line-management and mooring-system management plans that detail how ropes are selected, maintained and when they should be retired.
Mr Collett explained a key emphasis in MEG4 is on selection and retirement of mooring lines, as well as how they interface with deck equipment. There is a higher emphasis on extending the working life of mooring lines, with the result being a safer environment and reduced equipment costs.
K Line opened its London office in 2005, from which it currently operates a fleet of 11 LNG carriers. 42 office staff and 600 seafarers are managed from the London office. The company uses Samson’s Icaria service, which is specifically designed to comply with MEG4, to implement the guidelines across all 11 vessels, said Mr Heath.
Icaria incorporates a number of portals to enable MEG4 compliance and safe management of mooring lines. One feature of the system is the Connect portal that allows crew to upload document results of line inspections based around a numerical value, allowing for monitoring and analysis of data from across the fleet on shore, both by Samson and by the end user.
Over time, trends can be extrapolated from data produced by these quarterly reports, and recommendations made as to maintenance required on lines. These include when to rotate lines in service, and when they should be retired and replaced.
There is also a Classroom portal that allows seafarers to access training across 16 modules, including inspection, splicing and installation of lines. For example, crew members can be trained to know which common wear points should have special attention paid to them.
“You cannot have a ship-to-shore interface without robust mooring and you cannot operate a ship without an empowered crew,” said Mr Collett.
Addressing a question on the risk of snapbacks, Mr Heath said “We have to make sure everyone’s clear of any potential for ricochet, snapback or bouncing off something else.
We don’t know exactly how the ropes are going to react under every given circumstance so we’ve just got to educate the crews more and train them."
Mr Collett added “There are arguments that there is no safe mooring line because obviously the tail is the part which absorbs the energy.
“Part of the line management plan every ship operator is writing, is to encourage the crew to be very cautious about standing anywhere near a mooring line – in fact, they shouldn’t be standing near a mooring line.”
“We encourage people to be aware that mooring lines possibly can snap back so do not go anywhere near them during a mooring operation.”