CHIRP has received several reports relating to port arrival and berthing. The following reports cover communication failings, maintenance issues, and operational concerns.
What the Reporter told us (3):
Whilst berthing the vessel a tug order was missed resulting in heavy contact with the berth. It appears that as an order was given to each tug in quick succession, the order to the forward tug may have been blocked by a response from the aft tug. This resulted in the tug continuing to push after the order was given to stop. There was no damage because the rubber fenders absorbed the load adequately. As the shoulder landed first there was no damage, however if it had been the aft tug continuing to push, there could have been damage to the quarter with this type of vessel.
The Maritime Advisory Board commented that a vessel’s speed must be fully under control when approaching a berth. The problem in this case was the rapid succession of orders given to the tugs. Any instruction to a tug should be considered before being transmitted. The view of the tugmasters and their means of communication is an additional consideration. A publication giving guidance on “Standard Pilot Orders for Tugs” by The International Tugmasters Association specifically discusses intervals between pilot orders for tugs and this becomes increasingly important when more than two tugs are utilised. The whole issue of tug orders and language is the subject of ongoing debate globally.