Skip to content

Unsafe method of rope work resulted in severe hand injury

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) has published safety alert number 16-22 regarding an incident in which a crewman suffered serious injuries to three of his fingers during mooring operations. The incident occurred when the crew of the vessel were preparing mooring lines for arrival in port. An Able Seaman was spooling a mooring line from the starboard locker to the starboard tugger winch aft. During this operation, a crow bar slipped and the seaman was forced against the guide roller. He caught his fingers between the crow bar and roller, leading to injuries to three of his fingers, including loss of one joint of a finger.

Side view showing spooling direction of mooring line
Side view showing spooling direction of mooring line
Front view showing mooring line travel to the winch and the crow bar position
Front view showing mooring line travel to the winch and the crow bar position

The MSF safety alert records the following:

  • Immediate cause: an unsafe method for spooling line onto the tugger winch;
  • Basic causal factors included:
    • poor planning: there was no risk assessment conducted before the job, nor was a toolbox talk meeting held
    • the seaman performing the work was new on board the vessel.

The full report can be found at

Members may wish to refer to the following incident (search words: unsafe, mooring):

Members may also wish to refer to Mooring practice safety guidance for offshore vessels when alongside in ports and harbours.

Safety Event

Published: 18 October 2016
Download: IMCA SF 28/16

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.