Snap Back Zones

CHIRP takes this opportunity to warn seafarers over the practice of marking on deck the ‘snap back zones’ for mooring lines on decks where a rope will recoil when parting. This practice is not supported by research and it is believed to create a false sense of security. The risk of injury can vary and will depend on

(i) the lead of the rope,

(ii) thetype of rope used and

(iii) the tension on the rope when parting.

Attention is drawn to the Report RS 2014:03E by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority into the incident resulting in death on the Netherlands vessel ‘MORRABORG’. The UK Maritime Coastguard Agency have advised they will revise their guidance warning against the use of  painted ‘snap back zones’, in the next edition of the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seaman (COSWP). It is therefore prudent to remove the painted areas and post warning signs that the mooring area, when in use, is dangerous and caution should be exercised when handling ropes. In addition emphasis is required on training, a tool box talk prior to commencing operations and control through a supervisor dedicated to the oversight of safe operations. The supervisor needs to be alert to the potential risks as tension in the mooring lines and messengers increase and take timely action to avoid injury of personnel.