I can’t wait to be harassed by Port State Control for not properly “documenting” inspections or maintenance of my mooring lines even though they are in perfectly serviceable condition. More paperwork does not make better safety. Good seamanship and support (i.e. $$$) from the owners makes the difference.
Handling lines is never going to be without risk. Maybe a deeper look into best practices while working lines would be a better approach. I watch other ships putting 4 or 5 lines out at once with everyone running around in what appears to me to be an disorganized mess with almost no one looking over the side. When a pilot tells me to work more than one set of lines at a time, I politely refuse and tell them we do not have the manpower to do so safely. We work orderly and calmly and try our best to not get in a “rush”. That to me is the difference in mooring operations safety. Don’t get in a rush.
I’ve been documenting inspection and maintenance of my lines for years as well. I don’t have a problem with us doing our job. It’s the prospect of subjective inspections with even more subjective enforcement that gets me antsy with regards to the IMO and how port state inspectors use the flavor of the month to hang you on.
How much more pencil whipping can we have in the name of safety?
As far as subjective vs objective the charterers line inspection setup included photos of lines in new, excellent, very good, poor condition etc with a description which are compared to actual and recorded so it was objective to a large degree.
As far a pencil whipping, the system with the photos probably could be followed more closely then actual practice. The important part is the condition is watched, recorded and lines taken out of service when required.
Overall I think the formal system is more useful then not even if a PSC inspector wants to quibble the findings.
US crews methodically, almost slowly, move about the deck and put out lines. No rush, no hurry, sometimes even when they should be hurrying due to impending problems. They’ve really taken the safety first mantra to heart.
Foreign crews run around like madmen, grabbing and running multiple lines out at once, always saying yes to everything and will put themselves at risk without hesitation. But they do get the job done much quicker and actually move with a purpose on deck.
Our lines are all on reels, two at a time is actually less work for the crew as each winch has two reels and doing both doesn’t require taking one reel out of gear.
The limit typically is how fast the line handlers ashore can take them. The lines are heavy so two is usually the max that can be handled by each line-handling crew.
Its not a good idea to rush the crew if they don’t know what they are doing, They will just do the wrong thing, only faster. Once the crews have a couple tie-ups and let-gos under their belts they usually will get more effective and be able to get the job done in less time without rushing.
As I’m typing this, I’m watching a Romanian deck hand who missed his first throw with the bow line. He’s balancing on the spring that is pulling the bow of a lightly laden 90 x 8.5 into the dock, so he can cross to shore and rectify his mistake. Oh, and now the captain came out to yell at him.
I only ever had one line failure of note, and that was a factory fresh nylon line that snapped because The Man was in a hurry taking out the slack. I was standing right where it came on board, and it left a lasting impression.
EDIT: I missed the balancing act, but here’s the setup. He set the spring hard and early, so the bow bounced back out. Livid captain on the wing.