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Now here's a good one: Emergency towing arrangement
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:53 PM
Joined: 13/02/2009
Posts: 23

Our yacht, being a 'Cargo ship built before January 1st 2010' needs an emergency towing arrangement (and procedure) by January 2012. We are 194ft and 969gt. How can we rig something that will be approved while using existing ship's equipment? What will we have to acquire and do to comply with this new regulation?
Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 1:59 AM
Joined: 17/05/2008
Posts: 10

SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-4 and the requirements for emergency towing, originally enacted for oil tankers, have been amended to apply as follows: all passenger ships, not later than 01-January-2010 cargo ships constructed on or after 01-January-2010, on delivery; and cargo ships constructed before 01-January-2010, not later than 01-January-2012. The procedure must be prepared by the shipowner, operator, or manager, not the ship builder. The emergency towing procedure is operational and is to be based on existing arrangements and equipment available on board the ship. Depending on your flag of registry, the procedure does not normally need to be approved, but attending surveyors will check for compliance and ISM auditors may examine the emergency towing procedures as a part of an audit. IMO MSC.1/Circular 1255 – Guidelines for owners/operators on preparing emergency towing procedures is available online. If a specific question, feel free to contact us at:
Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 8:11 PM
Get the load capacity for your forward bollards that you would tow from. That was one item we were just informed of.
Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2011 2:33 PM
This applies to all yachts over 500GT. Commercial and private; it is a little more complicated than above stated and will be part of Port State inspections from next year.
Clive C-W
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 7:04 AM
Joined: 25/09/2008
Posts: 12

The correct seamanship solution is to have a properly lubricated and maintained lugless joining shackle in your anchor cable which can be broken at the first shackle. Leaving your anchor secured in place, bring the cable on deck and break it at the first shackle, passing the end out through the bullring shackled to the end of your tow rope. The weight of the cable adds a spring in the tow to ease snatching when tension first comes onto the tow. If like most yachts you have no bullring or means of breaking the cable, I would propose that you look at rigging a bridle with one of your berthing hawsers that utilises both your capstans (which are designed to hold the weight of your vessel) and then spreads the load to the other bollards around your foredeck. This is generally not difficult to rig using a bit of seamanship. Of course the other thing you will need is a suitable tow rope to shackle to the bridle, standard berthing lines will be nothing like long enough. I hope this helps and does not sound too sanctimonious.
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 9:12 AM
Joined: 08/06/2010
Posts: 10

We  have just gone through ,on one of our vessels,both, PSC and annual class survey. Only Class brought up issue of ammendment due to enter Jan 2012. (Emergency Towing).We have written a procedure along with a risk assessment and implementation onboard.  We do recommend following the IMO circular as a guide line. Do remember that using the on-board equipment ,towing line,bridle,heaving lines,messenger lines etc... and not adding unless you want to double up on safety. (we did add a crew member-safety officer as a direct out come of the risk assessment conducted.).

One of the major issues covered should be the communication sequence between the towing and towed vessels as they are not familiar with one another and in some cases can involve another yacht (unproffesional in terms of towing).

Also implementing a training schedule for procedure and if possible actually conducting a one to one practice with fellow vessel.

We will be happy in assissting in terms of risk assessment or procedures required.

Capt. A. Pick


Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 7:30 PM
Joined: 13/02/2009
Posts: 23

Clive C-W: thank you very much for the comprehensive response. I already had considered using the anchor chain and detaching the anchor but I don't have enough technical knowledge to come to a definite solution. Hopefully some more captains will post different approaches.
Capt Kaj
Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 6:37 PM
Joined: 05/08/2008
Posts: 83

I found when studying for my Commercial lic´ that the Admiralty book on towing was excellent, it has all the various rigs for all situations, although it was some years ago and an old book, I doubt whether things have changed much. There is admittedly, alot of "new" names to get used to!

Capt Kaj