Skuld: The continued dangers of snap-back zones

Marine insurer Skuld has said that it is continuing to experience incidents where crew members were exposed to the dangers of parting lines during operations. During surveys, vessels were seen to have snap-back zones marked within the mooring areas of the vessels, in contradiction of accepted industry best practice.

Skuld said that surveying vessels was a vital element of Skuld’s Loss Prevention activities, a way in which the insurer could identify trends across the membership and highlight observations which might assist in mitigating the impact of incidents. It noted that in October 2016 the insurer brought to its members’ attention the dangers of mooring lines and the consequences in the event of one parting under tension. This complemented the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seaman (COSWP) best practice on mooring operations. It was highlighted then that, in contrast to previous guidance, it was no longer considered adequate to mark snap-back zones on the mooring deck only around critical points such as the warping drum, roller fairleads and the pedestal rollers.

COSWP states specifically “The painting of snap-back zones on mooring decks should be avoided because they may give a false sense of security.”

Skuld said that it would once again like to highlight to its members the potential complex nature of a parting line’s snap-back zone and the need to treat the whole mooring deck as a hazardous area. It said that “to identify all hazards which the ship’s crew can be potentially exposed to it is essential to conduct the appropriate risk assessment then implement sufficient control measures”.

In addition, Skuld said that ensuring that crew followed the prescribed procedures and that all equipment was routinely inspected for signs of wear which could compromise its construction were the best ways to militate against incidents and crew injury.  The insurer recommended that appropriate cautionary signage be displayed close to the mooring deck entrance, highlighting the potential danger ahead.