These guidelines have been jointly produced with Marine & Towage Services (contracted to provide pilotage services to the Harbour Authority). The Guidelines are designed to be flexible and to represent a guideline minimum level of towage support applicable to each movement when towing a barge or vessel greater than 10 metres in length (or more than 8 tonnes) that does not have power. Notwithstanding anything contained in these guidelines, the towage requirement for an individual vessel remains the prime responsibility of the Master after due consultation with the pilot and Tor Bay Harbour Authority where applicable. They are not mandatory although Tor Bay Harbour Authority, in certain circumstances, may use their powers to direct vessels to take tugs or other workboats as required to mitigate particular risks.
A Pro Forma Method Statement must be completed and submitted prior to the tow being undertaken.
The guidelines are based on tugs with a minimum bollard pull of 18 Tonnes. Other tugs or work boats with lesser capabilities may be employed after due consideration and liaison between the Master, Pilot and Tor Bay Harbour Authority.
Vessels with bow and stern thrusters, which are in good working order and producing a designed power output in proper proportion to the vessels size and draft, may, in certain circumstances, be considered as equivalent to a tug. Hi-lift rudders and azimuth capable main propulsion may also be taken into account when considering a vessels manoeuvring capability.
The number of tugs required may be increased when unfavourable conditions exist or when the handling characteristics of the vessel are in doubt.
It is recognised that due to the considerable variations in vessel size, shape, condition and degree of capability, certain vessel movements may not be adequately covered by these guidelines. In these circumstances, the vessel will be defined as “Special Category Case” and an individual risk assessment of the planned movement undertaken. This is particularly pertinent when a damaged or disabled vessel is to be moved within an enclosed harbour.
It is to be noted that the guidelines exclude vessels proceeding to an anchorage, unless such vessel is identified as a Special Category Case.
These guidelines are based on the minimum tug requirements compiled for conventional vessels of varying length, taking into account the forces likely to be exerted by wind, current and wave action. In addition to these base line criteria, there are numerous other factors, which need to be included in the overall assessment of tug support, and these may permit the guideline requirements to be increased or decreased. The list of such components is not exhaustive and includes:
The need to move vessels and/or barges with unusual configurations or that are suffering from defects or deficiencies affecting the overall manoeuvrability or berthing capability of the vessel shall be considered as a special category case. There may be other circumstances such as abnormal berthing arrangements or a reduction in available towage assets, which would also call for a more detailed assessment of a proposed shipping movement.
Restricted visibility is any occasion where visibility is, or is expected to, reduce to a distance where the tugs normal ability to perform may be impaired. Such restrictions in visibility could be due to fog, mist, snow, rain, sleet or any other conditions which impair visibility. Whilst tugs are equipped with radar, keeping a radar watch by the Master whilst towing may be impractical and unsafe, and poses the most serious threat to the safety of the tug, its crew, and other harbour users. Should visibility be severely restricted towage operations must be suspended until conditions improve. The Harbour Master will give directions in consultation with the Pilots and Tug/Workboat Master. In the event that visibility reduces whilst a tow is under way, the vessel/barge should be held in a safe position until visibility improves. The minimum visibility for all towage operations is 1 mile at any point within the harbour.
National certification of tug crew is set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in accordance with the Port Marine Safety Code. All crew must meet these requirements and tugs must be safely and adequately manned. In addition, all Masters of tugs registered by MDHC are required to hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC) to STCW standards or Boatmaster License (or equivalent) with the appropriate towage endorsement. This applies to General Towage (towing and pushing); however, MDHC requires that all tugs engaged in ship assist towage must be operated by STCW certificated masters. Masters of vessels other than tugs must hold a Certificate of Competency (CoC) to STCW standards or Boatmaster License (or equivalent) with the appropriate towage experience.
Throughout towage operations good VHF communications between all parties are a vital component of safe towage operations. At all times tug crew, vessel crew and shore-side staff must be able to communicate efficiently and clearly. The tug master should immediately inform the pilot/master or harbour authority of any concerns that he may have as to the safety of his tug and crew. The pilot and tug master should take immediate action to ensure the safety of both the tug and the assisted vessel. If necessary the operation should be aborted as soon as it is safe to do so. The appropriate Harbour Master/ Deputy Harbour Master must be informed prior to entering one of the enclosed harbours with a tow.
All towing equipment shall be tested by a Loler registered inspector or similar on a 12 monthly basis, any rejected equipment to be replaced when possible. All towing equipment in use must be checked before undertaking a towage operation and after completion of each towage operation. Inspection of towing equipment shall include all ropes, wires, shackles, chains, delta plate, messengers, winches, hooks and any other item specifically designed or used to provide towage services.
|Vessel Length||Min Tug Requirement||Remarks|
|<50||0||Tug only required if vessel has defects|
|50m to 75m||1||Tugs may be increased/decreased subject to vessel manoeuvring characteristics|
|75m to 120m||2||Tugs may be increased/decreased subject to vessel manoeuvring characteristics|
|> 120m||To be determined||Special Category Case|
|Barge/Vessel Length||Minimum Tug/Workboat Requirement||Remarks|
|< 50m||1||Tug/workboat required if vessel has defects|
|50m to 75m||2||Tugs/workboats may be increased/decreased subject to vessel|
|75m to 120m||2||Tugs/workboats may be increased/decreased subject to vessel|
|> 120m||To be determined||Special Category Case|
In all cases a towage plan/method statement and risk assessment must be submitted to the harbour authority in advance of the proposed time of commencement of the operation. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in delay.
When completing the risk assessment the following should be considered: