Example tug line arrangements

The BTA is pleased to share the MCA’s publication of MGN 648 Code fo Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers (COSWP) Self Mooring Operations. 

COSWP is reviewed annually and following the stakeholder engagement exercise held in July 2020, chapter 26 (section 26.6: safe mooring of domestic passenger craft and ships’ launches to quays) was noted for updating in response to industry and the MAIB incident reports into the dredger Cherry Sand and the tug Millgarth.

The guidance, drafted by the British Tugowners Association, in collaboration with the Chamber of Shipping, Workboat Association and Port Skils & Safety, and approved by the tri-partite COSWP Working Group, should be read in conjunction with the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers (COSWP) (‘the Code’) Chapter 26. 

The guidance recognises that the act of mooring or unmooring a vessel with the exclusive use of the vessel’s crew (self-mooring) – a common occurrence in the small vessel sector – may be a reasonably practicable operation provided that the unique hazards have been mitigated. The guidance introduces a recommended hierachy of means of self-mooring where trained shore-side personnel are not available through a safe system of work for the activity, incorporating a risk assessment and method statement. 

The guidance will be added into the next COSWP Amendment 2021, as a new Section 26.7 and new Annex 26.3 examples of mooring arrangements.

BTA members who carry out self-mooring activities are strongly recommended to review the newly released MGN and make use of it in discussions and dialogue with Ports and Harbour Authorities. 

Specific comments and queries may be addressed to Robert Merrylees, rmerrylees@ukchamberofshipping.com