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UK MAIB Reports on Fatal Mooring Line Accident

Mike Schuler
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July 18, 2022

The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its report into a fatal mooring deck accident at a Russian anchorage in 2021.

The chief officer of the Isle of Man-registered MV Teal Bay was fatally injured August 30, 2021 when he was struck in the head by a mooring line when it sprang out of an open roller fairlead at Russia’s Kavkaz South anchorage.

The Teal Bay was moored alongside an anchored bulk carrier and was being moved forward by tensioning the aft spring to allow loading to be completed. According to the MAIB, during the loading operation, Teal Bay’s mooring lines had developed an upward lead due to the change in freeboard between the two vessels and, as the line was tensioned to move Teal Bay, its upward lead angle became too great for the open fairlead to contain it.

The MAIB’s investigation found that the use of an open fairlead was inappropriate during the transfer of cargo where a freeboard differential created the hazard of an upward lead on the mooring lines. The chief officer was struck because he was standing in a hazardous area close to a tensioned mooring line and the operation to move Teal Bay forward was attempted with insufficient crew and had not been risk assessed, the agency said.

Safety Issues

The MAIB identified three safety issues as a result of its investigation and made one recommendation to the Isle of Man Ship Registry to promulgate the safety lessons in this report to vessels on the register.

  • the mooring arrangement was unsuitable for loading from alongside another vessel as the fairlead was open and could not contain the upward lead of the mooring line
  • the operation to move Teal Bay forward was attempted with insufficient planning and assigned crew
  • the lack of a coordinated and organised emergency response created delays in the chief officer being assessed by a medical professional

The MAIB conducted this investigation on behalf of the Isle of Man Ship Registry in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the MAIB and the Red Ensign Group Category 1 registries of Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Gibraltar.

The MAIB previously issued a reminder to help raise awareness of essential components for safer mooring operations during Maritime Safety Week 2022.

The MAIB’s report can be found here.

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