IMO adopts new requirements to improve mooring safety


(LONDON) — The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its latest Maritime Safety Committee meeting (MSC 102) virtually from Nov. 4-11 due to COVID-19 restrictions, during which it adopted a number of requirements, including one relating to mooring and safety. The outcome from the meeting is likely to have a significant impact on ship design, in particular with the arrangements of mooring winches and related equipment on the deck.

Currently, a SOLAS regulation (II-2/3-8) addresses the strength of deck fittings that are used for mooring operations by displaying the maximum load for each piece of equipment and fittings. The new requirements will include an assessment of the full design of mooring arrangements, including a new regime for maintenance and inspection of the mooring equipment, including lines.

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The guidelines aim to prevent blocked access to working space and minimize obstructed views of the mooring area, in order to avoid the exposure of personnel involved in mooring operations to the dynamic loads of mooring lines.

New paragraphs have been added to the current regulation (II-2/3-8) to address design requirements. Specific information shall be included in the so-called Towing and Mooring Arrangement Plan as described in the new design guidelines MSC.1/Circ.1620. Approval of the plan by the flag Administration is however not required.

In regard to inspection and maintenance, MSC adopted new provisions for all ships, regardless of size and date of construction, requiring that mooring equipment, including lines and ropes, will be subject to inspection. The inspection of the mooring lines now includes number, strength, size, length, characteristics, and restrictions or limitations. Further guidance is provided in the new guidelines MSC.1/Circ.1621.

The requirements for mooring arrangements are particularly relevant for designers and shipyards and will need to be considered in consultation with the shipowner. The requirements for inspection, maintenance and replacement of mooring equipment are mainly relevant for shipowners and operators.

The amendments will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2024.

– BIMCO (Baltic and International Maritime Council)

By Professional Mariner Staff