Factors affecting the long-term operation of quick release mooring hooks



Sandy Thomas, Marine Director, Strainstall, Isle of Wight, UK


In oil and gas terminals the use of quick release hooks is recommended by the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), as they form the basis of a safe mooring system. Designed for installation in hazardous cargo handling jetties, the main purpose of this safety equipment is to release the mooring lines as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency.

Regular maintenance

The hook release mechanism consists of several movable levers that provide the necessary load reduction to allow manual release at full Working Load Limit  conditions, which are typically around 1,000 kN. As with any mechanical equipment, these movable levers need regular maintenance to ensure that they continue to function properly. However, jetty operators often overlook this requirement, and consequently over a period of time the hooks either do not function as they should, or worse, fail completely.

Strainstall AMTS has supplied quick release hooks for almost 30 years and have optimised their design in order to cope with the harsh conditions they operate in and to require as little maintenance as possible. However, even the best designed and highest specification equipment cannot function indefinitely without some level of servicing, and we have seen equipment that is no longer fit for purpose because of the lack of routine checks. This of course has a significant implication on the operational safety of the terminal.

Site meeting, Turkey

We recently attended a site meeting at an installation in Turkey where our equipment had been supplied many years ago. We were pleased to learn that our quick  release hooks and ancillary items including the hydraulic remote control, electric operated apstans, foot switches and manual release systems, were all in perfect working order.

The jetty operators were committed to the maintenance programme we had suggested at the time of installation, as they wanted to ensure that every piece of equipment used at the terminal remained in good operational condition. It was a straightforward scheme that included simple procedures like regular greasing, periodical functional testing and consistent repair of defective items. This visit proved that our equipment continues to work and is reliable for many years, provided it is properly maintained.

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