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Ship Berthing Incidents: Revealing the Reality

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Author(s): Laurence Jones, Risk Assessment Director, TT Club

Ship berthing incidents are all too common at ports globally. The berthing operation is highly dependent on human interaction and many incidents have their root cause in this fact. As well as damage to the ship, the berth and quay crane incidents often result in injuries to ship crew and port personnel. The advent of larger tonnage and the consequent ‘cascading’ effect to smaller ports means that the risk is real in most locations. This article attempts to identify and address the issues that can mitigate the occurrence of ship berthing incidents.

The two key areas of heightened risk are ship manoeuvring in the port and the process of mooring. Manoeuvring exposes the ship to collisions, while mooring can result in injuries or fatalities to crew or mooring line personnel. All the factors contributing to such incidents can be classified as either ship issues or port/terminal issues.


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