Near-miss: Mooring without port assistance

A member has reported several incidents in which a shored-based mooring gang was not made available when a vessel arrived for a regular call at a designated berth. Rather than stop the job, the vessel crews had adopted an unacceptable ‘routine’ of jumping between the vessel and the jetty to conduct the mooring on their own. A third-party assurance official was recently aboard and witnessed this behaviour – he immediately exercised the stop work policy and communicated a near miss report.

Investigation revealed the following:

  • Neither the client nor the port authority were planning and preparing adequate support for vessel mooring operations;
  • Everyone onboard had become complacent and accepting of a non-compliant, unsafe practice resulting in multiple exposures to the risk of falling overboard;
  • Although some vessel crew had raised some safety observations about this situation, no one had elevated their concerns to shore-side management or raised a near miss report;
  • The stop work policy was not being implemented by the crew – it took a visiting third party to identify the hazardous occurrence, put a stop to it, and report it to the office.

Summary of actions taken:

  • The client was informed immediately. The client provided feedback with acceptance and commitment to addressing the issue to ensure it did not happen again;
  • Shore-based management have strongly engaged the client and port authority – the vessel has since called at the berth on several occasions and mooring gangs have been present for all mooring and unmooring operations;
  • A company regional director immediately conducted a vessel visit to engage with the Master and crew to discuss the incident.

Our member notes that when crew members draw attention to unsafe acts or unsafe conditions, or any hazardous occurrences, these should be brought to the knowledge of shipboard management and action should be taken – it is not acceptable to ignore these or do nothing.