Girding happens quickly and is a high impact event. When it does happen the consequences can be serious.

According to the video, when the TSB is called to a scene when girding has occurred, they often see that few operators have received instructions how to recognise the factors that create a girding situation, and how to avoid or deal with it.

#Factors that can lead to a girding situation

(a) Suitability of the tug: size, power, manoeuvrability, power, and visibility.

(b) Towline length: When the two is overtaking the tug it can affect the tug's stability.

(c) Location of the towing point: A sideways towline force creates a negative stability force which can cause the tug to capsize.

(d) Tow features: size, weight, momentum and pivot point.

(e) Environmental conditions: wind, current, tide, water depth.

(f) Watertightness of tug: Watertight integrity must be maintained to ensure the tug's stability.

When more than one of this factors is not taken into consideration girding can occur causing a vessel to capsize.

Operators can reduce the risks of girding by educating themselves of the dynamics on the dynamic of girding and understanding the different factors that contribute to it.

#Recovering methods:

#1 Adjust towline length and reposition tug in front of tow;

#2 Using assist tug to reposition the tow;

#3 Flop alongside: when the tug allows itself to be pulled alongside the barge until it can safely reposition.

A tug's abort mechanisms should be

  • Highly visible
  • Similar in style
  • In familiar locations

Concluding, it is important that owners and operators provide guidance, information and training to reduce the incidents of girding.