OCIMF booklet ‘Recommendations for Ships Fittings for use with Tugs’

INTERTANKO, IMPA and OCIMF are undertaking a joint study to determine whether there is a compelling need for the recommendations to be made mandatory. Members are requested to complete a survey form on our web site and indicate whether or not bitt/fairlead/chock failures have occurred on their tankers between 31 March 1998 and 31 March 2003.

Further to our article in Weekly NEWS No. 5 of 24 January 2003, INTERTANKO has made it known that it supports the application of these recommendations for the 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 making 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 currently there 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 had 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.

INTERTANKO, IMPA (International Maritime Pilots’ Association) and OCIMF (Oil Companies International Marine Forum) are therefore undertaking a joint study to determine whether there is a compelling need for such recommendations to be made mandatory. A survey form has been produced jointly, 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. Please note, however, that in addition to members informing us of any bitt/fairlead/chock failure that occurred between 31 March 1998 and 31 March 2003, we also request members to advise if they have NOT suffered any such failures during this period, in particular to advise us: 

  • how many vessels they operate
  • how many vessels have not suffered any mooring bitt failures in the last 5 years if this is the case
  • how many vessels did suffer such failures.

The INTERTANKO ISTEC Committee was of the opinion that this was necessary in order to fully evaluate the scale of the problem and view any reported failures as a percentage of the whole industry.

Accordingly, we have revised our form, which can be downloaded from here.

Contact: Howard Snaith