Skip to content

Swedish Club: Lessons learned – crew member loses leg in mooring injury

The Swedish [P&I] Club has recently released a “casebook” containing safety lessons learned from maritime incidents.  This useful resource document can be found here:

One of the case studies describes a very serious injury of a crew member during mooring operations.

What happened

During mooring operations, a member of the crew was caught between a mooring line and the fairlead as the mooring line paid out very fast, resulting in his leg being cut off. A first aid team from shoreside came onboard, and thirty minutes later an ambulance arrived and took him to hospital. He survived but is now disabled.

What went wrong?

The mooring lines were let out very fast, sank, and got caught in the propellor.

Lessons learned

  • The vessel had a risk assessment for the mooring operation, but this did not include the risk of the mooring line getting stuck in the propeller, as the mooring line should be floating in normal circumstances;
  • In addition, the mooring line was partly around the bollard, with a bight and a right angle to the normal pull direction. This arrangement caused the snapback zone to cover the entire area between the bollard and railing. When the rope ran out rapidly and got caught in the propeller it snapped back to where the Third Officer was standing, even though he was not inside the normal snapback zone;
  • This shows the importance of everybody involved in the operation being aware of the risks of potential snap-back zones. Mooring a vessel is a normal operation, but the risks need to be re-evaluated every time. (IMCA emphasis).

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 6 May 2021
Download: IMCA SF 13/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.