OCIMF booklet "Recommendations for Ships Fittings for use with Tugs"

INTERTANKO has made it known that it supports the application of these recommendations for the specific construction and, where applicable, the classification, of new ships only, and does not believe they should be applied to existing vessels. Australia has also raised certain concerns at IMO regarding the towing equipment used on vessels and the associated strength of the vessels’ mooring bitts used for securing tugs. Australia has asked IMO to address the following issues:

"Requests that mandatory standards be identified and specified for anchoring, towing and mooring fittings, which require these fittings to be clearly marked with their SWL in order to avoid over application of loads, and that such requirements should be included in SOLAS, as well as bringing the maintenance of such equipment in line with the ISM Code."

One of the main aspects of the proposals would require permanent bead weld markings on any towage bitt that is to be used for tugs, including harbour tug use. Whilst the bead weld marking would not present a problem, our investigations indicate that in order to make a full assessment of the bitt, its under deck stiffening and subsequent tie down would not be straight forward and difficulties might be encountered in carrying this out. INTERTANKO reported to DE45 last year that we fully recognise that there currently exist no guidelines or standards for designers and builders to work to, and that diverse arrangements are made at the building stage. It was noted that IACS are currently working on producing a standard unified requirement for this assessment and the method of tie downs and under deck stiffening.

INTERTANKO believes, however, that any new rules, regulations or recommendations are only warranted after a comprehensive investigation of the "problem", a full review of the implications and an objective consultation with all of the principal parties involved. Accordingly INTERTANKO has asked DE45 to allow sufficient time for a full evaluation of the proposal with regard to existing vessels, because after wide consultations within our membership, with classifications societies and others regarding the current towing arrangements INTERTANKO has not found compelling reasons to endorse the recommendations developed by OCIMF for existing vessels.

Submissions in this regard have been invited for NAV 48.

Accordingly, INTERTANKO, together with IMPA (International Maritime Pilots’ Association) and OCIMF (Oil Companies International Marine Forum), will undertake a joint study to determine whether there is a compelling need for such recommendations to be made mandatory. We have therefore jointly produced a survey form, which we ask members to complete and submit to INTERTANKO before 31 March 2003 in order that they may be included in the joint survey. The form can be downloaded from INTERTANKO’s web site,. Click here to download your copy.

Please note, however, that members are invited to inform us of any bitt/fairlead/chock failure that occurred between 31 March 1998 and 31 March 2003.

Contact: Howard Snaith