IMO adopts new requirements focusing on the safety while mooring


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has  held its latest Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting (MSC102), virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, during which it adopted a number of mandatory requirements, including one relating to mooring and safety.

At the MSC201 meeting, one of the requirements adopted relates to the mooring operation to ensure occupational safety and safe mooring of ships, as well as to reduce the number and severity of accidents caused by mooring activities. 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, 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 now include an assessment of the full design of mooring arrangements, including a new regime for maintenance and inspection of the mooring equipment, including lines.

The guidelines aim to prevent blocked access to working space and minimize obstructed view 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 are 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.1/1620 on “Guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements and the selection of appropriate mooring equipment and fittings for safe mooring”. 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 on “Guidelines for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment including lines”.

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

The amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2024.

Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl
in Copenhagen, DK


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