Emergency Towing Gear

Does anyone know of a regulation or guidance document regarding the replacement of emergency towing gear? It’s not often that I cannot find something that exists without too much trouble. I certainly cannot find this.

With certain arrangements, such as rope messengers, wires, etc…this does not last forever and its generally expensive to replace. It may look well kept after 6-7 years if you you used canvas/cover or something of that nature to limit UV exposure for messengers. But, even with that, after a 6 year time frame, replacement may be warranted.

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This is something that I brought up many times and was always told, don’t worry it looks fine. I never understood why ,there was no regulations on testing and or replacement required after x amount of time. Let’s face it if this Emergency Gear is ever needed it will most likely not be in nice weather. Way back when we still used Hawsers for towing I remember them using the Old Worn out Hawser as the Emergency Hawser. Let’s face it is us on the vessels that will have to deal with it, not the Desk Jockey sitting in the office but they will be the ones demanding to know why we lost the tow twice.

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Well, I ordered new and got it. It’s usually the Master at the deposition. And, those can easily happen when you use emergency tow gear.

It’s an easy sell to man’gt when you put it into terms some can understand, especially when you have a lifting gear policy which requires sling replacement, regardless if it passes an inspection or not, after 5 years. And, this is for picking up a box. But, when it come to picking up tow on the entire ship, it’s not looked in the same way,

I doubt there is a guidance document out there - there has yet to be a significant loss to make such a document necessary …give it time.

Anything in the regs associated with the fire fighting / salvage part of OPA 90 or is that only for tank Ships?

This how we got them to realize that we were not just asking for new just for the sake of getting new.

At one time they decided to start cutting about 50 feet off of the Tow Wire and send it out for “Destructive” Testing every time we end for ended the Tow Wire. They thought this would show the condition of the wire. After having the test come back fine the second time we end for ended the wire, we talked them into a new wire and get them to cut a piece of wire from what would have been the first lay, as this is what might have dragged and have wear. I think they agreed to do just to shut all of the fleet that was complaining about the condition of the wires. So, off went the piece for Destructive Testing. After not hearing anything, I got my PE aside and asked him if he had heard anything about the report on our wire. He looked at me like I was asking about the Nuke Launch Codes. After pushing him for an answer, he finally told me that the Testing Company told them that the wire snapped way under working strength! He went on to say that they, the Company, were worried that if and when the report hit the fleet everyone would be screaming for new wires. Unfortunately this is a far to normal response from the office when it comes to the chance that they might need to “Waste” money!

We did make sure that the test results were “Leaked” to the fleet but not to many boats got new wires, I guess the office thought it was worth the gamble.


Ah, the moral peril of “that is what we have insurance for”. . . .

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I have personally over heard mangers in several offices say, I hope the insurance is paid up or well were covered by our insurance if anything happens to X Vessel.

At these times a vessel was either heading out in very bad weather or was already out in it! I swear they think that those of us that work on their vessels are a necessary evil and are not even taken into any decision making when it involves sending a vessel out into weather when waiting for a day or better might make more sense.