Until the implementation of OCIMF’s Mooring Equipment Guidance (MEG-4), the limits and forces required, mostly for mooring lines, were considered as a ‘dark area’.
hen IMO Circular 1175 determined the MBL (Line Minimum Breaking Load), it was noted that many Masters and Companies, based on the thought that the higher the MBL the safer the ship would be, purchased lines with significant higher breaking force than required. However, this was a risky approach, because the fittings were constructed to support (Safe Working Load) the construction of MBL.
This means for example, that if a ship had MBL (based on EN) 70t, the fittings were constructed to support such value, and Company had purchased lines 90t, then the ship would be safe only if moored under good environmental conditions.
What would happen if environmental circumstances got close to or went over the boundaries that were taken into account when building?
The line would not break but the fittings (winch drums, bollards, fairleads etc) would be damaged and this is even more dangerous for seafarers in mooring stations. In another scenario, terminal’s mooring points would be damaged and create dangerous conditions for nearby personnel.
Additionally the construction reinforcement of the winch base would be 1.25 x MBL = 87.5 t. The breaking force of the line 90t is higher than this value which means that in extreme weather condition close to those calculated for construction the winch based would be damaged before the line break.
Why it is important to have the correct value for Ship Design MBL
Winches have to be set to have Operational brake holding load at 60% of Ship Design MBL. However, if the operator sets the operational brake holding load to 60 % of MBL of the lines used on board and the lines have significant higher MBL than required by SDMBL, then serious hazards may occur.
Life service and MBL
Each line when constructed should followed by an estimation for life expectancy (under the consideration of safe use and normal environmental conditions) and each line manufacturer is responsible for providing such value. After purchasing the line, every Ship Manager should follow all relevant requirements and tests to determine how long same will be used.
- An effective line management plan which will include retirement criteria , end for end policy, periodical inspections and Wear zone management in order monitor the line is vital.
- If the line is about to reach the limit of life expectancy as set by the manufacturer, to be replaced without using any extensions .
- Companies may also set their own criteria for line service life (for example set a time limit like, “each line will be used for 5 years maximum unless retirement criteria are in place for line’s replacement”