As designs of new ships have been optimized for performance and their complexity increases, development of mooring systems has not adequately followed the development of ships.
Despite major operational safety improvements of how mooring operations are planned, performed, and executed, a high number of accidents during these operations is still observed.
To alleviate this issue, amendments to SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-8 were adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee at MSC.102 and will enter into force for ships constructed on or after 1 January 2024.
These amendments introduced new requirements for mooring arrangements and equipment, including mooring lines, aiming to recognize the importance of the design of mooring arrangements and the selection of appropriate mooring equipment and fittings for safe mooring operations.
The changes to Regulation II-1/3-8 refer to an update to MSC.1/Circ.1175/Rev.1 Revised Guidance on Shipboard Towing and Mooring Equipment and two new Guidelines:
MSC.1/Circ.1619 Guidelines on the Design of Mooring Arrangements and the Selection of Appropriate Mooring Equipment and Fittings for Safe Mooring, will apply to ships constructed on or after 1 January 2024 and provides an approach to mooring arrangement design and the selection of mooring equipment and fittings that should be applied in conjunction with principles of ergonomics and usability
MSC.1/Circ.1620 Guidelines for Inspection and Maintenance of Mooring Equipment Including Lines, which provides guidance and recommendations for in-service inspections and maintenance of mooring equipment, including lines and tails, criteria for identifying worn-out lines and tails for removal from service before failure, and criteria for selection of replacement mooring lines and tails. The guidelines in MSC.1/Circ. 1620 will apply to all ships. However, vessels built before 2007 may have some challenges since the requirements for the approval of the mooring fittings, and the associated foundation was not required to be reviewed by Class and certain aspects of the fittings such as Minimum Breaking load, Safety Working Load may need to be re-evaluated for compliance with the requirements of MSC.1/ Circ.1620.
For vessels constructed after the 1st of January 2024, these requirements will be covered in Section 3-5-1 of the ABS Marine Vessel Rules.
A. New vessels – Ships constructed on or after 1 January 2024
Ships of less than 3,000 GT
While applying the requirements of SOLAS Reg II-1/3-8, the following requirements need to be verified as far as reasonably practicable or any applicable national standards of the Administration:
I. A document shall be provided by the designer for information and as a supplement to the “Towing and mooring arrangement plan”, confirming that Circ.1619 has been considered. The document shall explicitly confirm if the deviations are unavoidable.
II. Any deviations are to be recorded as per Circ. 1619 paragraph 6 as a supplement to the “Towing and Mooring Arrangement Plan”. Justification and suitable safety measures are to be provided in this supplement and a reference to the supplement is to be included on the “Towing and Mooring Arrangement Plan”.
III. The mooring winch brake holding capacities shall be less than 100% of the MBLSD – Ref. Circ. 1619 paragraph 18.104.22.168 and 5.2.4. The winches are to be fitted with brakes that will allow for the reliable setting of the brake rendering load.
IV. At delivery of the vessel, the attending ABS surveyor will confirm that the Towing and Mooring Arrangement Plan along with the supplement, if needed, describing deviations and suitable safety measures are provided onboard
Ships of 3,000 GT and above
While applying the requirements of SOLAS Reg II-1/3-8, the following need to be verified:
I. Towing and mooring arrangement plan is to be submitted to ABS for technical review. The winch brake holding capacities shall be included in addition to the information required by MSC.1/Circ.1175/Rev.1 paragraph 5 for the “Towing and Mooring Arrangement Plan”.
II. A technical specification document for the mooring lines supplied with the vessel shall be provided to ABS for information in support of the required technical review. The recommended minimum diameter of each fitting in contact with the mooring lines and the line design break force (LDBF) of the mooring lines shall be included in the document.
III. At delivery of the vessel, the attending ABS surveyor will confirm that the Towing and Mooring Arrangement Plan is provided onboard the vessel.
B. Ships constructed before 1 January 2024
Ships keel laid date on or after 1st January 2007 and before 1 January 2024
I. Shall be provided with arrangements, equipment, and fittings of sufficient safe working load to enable the safe conduct of all towing and mooring operations associated with the normal operation of the ship.
II. Arrangements, equipment, and fittings shall meet the appropriate requirements of the Administration, or an organization recognized by the Administration.
III. Each fitting or item of equipment shall be clearly marked with any limitations associated with its safe operation, considering the strength of the supporting ship's structure and its attachment to it.
Ships with keel laid date before 1st January 2007
I.For vessels with appropriate documentation, records of the original design concept, equipment, arrangement, and specifications are to be submitted for review.
II. For vessels without appropriate documentation, owners may establish the Ship Design Minimum Breaking Load (MBLSD) for mooring equipment and fittings based on the Safe Working Load of mooring equipment provided onboard. If no Safe Working Load is specified, then Owners are advised to check the strength of mooring equipment and their supporting structure based on IACS UR A2 and IACS Recommendation No.10 to determine the MBLSD based on the actual capacity of the equipment and their supporting structure onboard.
C. All In-Service Ships
The following minimum requirements are to be complied with and compliance is to be confirmed by the attending surveyor at the initial survey for new ships or the first annual survey of Cargo or Passenger Ship Safety of Construction after 1 January 2024 for existing ships:
I. Procedures for mooring operations, inspection, and maintenance of mooring equipment, including mooring lines to be documented and available on board.
II. Procedures to allow the identification and control of mooring lines, tails, and associated attachments when on board to be documented and available on board.
III. The onboard maintenance plan or computer maintenance management system is to include the periodic inspection of mooring lines, mooring line tails and associated attachments.
IV. The records of inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment and inspection and replacement of mooring lines, are kept updated and are available on board at least to the last periodic renewal survey.
V. Manufacturers criteria for replacement of mooring lines are available (Ref. MSC.1/Circ.1620 paragraph 4.3.1).
VI. Records of the original design concept, equipment, arrangement, and specifications are available on board.
VII. Manufacturers test certificates for mooring lines, joining shackles and synthetic tails to be kept onboard and properly traceable back to the equipment.
Actions for compliance
Step 1: Prepare your new and existing vessels
For new ships, confirm that they are constructed according to the forthcoming updated SOLAS 2024.
For vessels built before 2007, some information related to the mooring arrangements, like the safe working load of each fitting, might not be available. Hence, to shield the proper marking of the information on equipment and fittings and check whether any strengthening of the support foundation is required, new calculations might be carried out.
Companies should establish procedures for mooring operations, inspection, and maintenance of mooring equipment, including mooring lines.
Step 2: Submissions for Technical Review
Towing and mooring arrangement plan along with the winch brake holding capacities
Drawings accompanying hull support foundation of mooring fittings and winches
Detail information of mooring fittings
Technical specification document of the mooring lines
Deviation, if any, with justification and suitable safety measures
Step 3: Maintaining Compliance
During the periodical Cargo or Passenger Ship Safety of Construction surveys, such as renewal and annual survey, the attending surveyor shall confirm that the records of inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment and inspection and replacement of mooring lines, since last periodical renewal and annual survey, are kept updated and are available on board.