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Lets talk about docking, aka berthing and mooring a ship.
Now we are almost year 2020 and yes we are still securing ships by ropes.
There's more advance method like magnetic plates or mechanical levers but overall, 99%
of ships from big to small are still using ropes.
Mechanical moorings are inferior to ropes because they're just not as elastic, which
is important to counteract the tide and waves.
So let start from the top when the ship approach the port, the local maritime pilot climbs
onboard the ship to assist us in docking.
They have the local knowledge of the area, they know their own port the best, where's
the shallow water, dangerous areas, the tide , the draft.
What they do is similar to valet parking.
And the bridge team as usual do their job, slowly and safely bringing the ship to the berth
While all that's happening up on the bridge,
The Forward and After mooring parties ,already standing by at the bow and stern of ship,
starts to prepare the mooring lines and hydraulic equipment.
Now small boats are able to dock pretty fast,
but for big ships it takes hours to bring the ship alongside.
Tugs are always available to assist.
They can either push on the ship's hull or have a tug line attached to the ship's bollards to pull.
The main reason for using tugs is because when ship is docking at slow speeds, its hard
for such a big ship to move or spin itself around.
Some ships might use up to 4 tugs
Certain sections of the ship are reinforced so that the tugs can push on it without damaging
or denting the ship, its usually around the both sides bow shoulders and stern quarters.
Same thing applies when pulling, tugs can only be pulled where there are bollards built.
So In order to pass the big mooring lines onto land, We first send a smaller line called
the heaving line with a monkey fist.
The monkey fist is pretty heavy so we make sure it is clear before throwing it, avoid
hitting anyone
Usually a forklift is used to move the heavy mooring lines, but in some places, they don't
even use a forklift, straight up muscle power.
Ofcourse it is much safer and efficient if you have one.
Each of these mooring lines have an eye that goes onto a bollard.
It all seem pretty primitive, throwing things here and there, but why fix something if its
not broken?
Sailors have been doing this for thousands of years.
So These drums adjust to make fast the ropes.
We do this for all the lines, unwind and roll out the moorings
so that the shore workers can pull them onto a bollard, then tighten to secure line.
The mooring winch is the same one used in anchor system, we switch between the two with
a simple clutch.
If you haven't yet, check out my anchor video for detail explanation of how the hydraulic
system works.
One by one the lines roll out and roll back in, its one of the more labour-intensive work
because sometimes you have to use man power to pull the lines on the deck.
As the officer in charge, my duty is to use the radio and relay the captain's orders
from the bridge to give commands to the crew working the lines.
All at same time, making sure they everyone is working in a safe manner and..just not
get hurt, this is especially important for snap backs and bights, because think of the
size of ropes, a jerk or jump of the rope has the force of a canon ball, its often fatal.
And you might be thinking why is there so many lines in different direction?
Well here we are using the standard mooring arrangement, known as the 422.
There are tons of other less common mooring arrangements out there, such as the Baltic
moor, Running moor, Standing moor, Single point moor, Multi buoy moor and Ship to Ship
In this video we will only cover 422 the standard and most commonly used one by large cargo
Its 2 Spring lines that runs along the ship's longitudinal in reverse, to hold forward and
backwards movement.
2 breast lines horizontally to hold horizontal forces.
4 Head and Stern lines holding the bow and stern in.
Because of the effects of tide and cargo loading, The ship's crew will have to keep checking
the tightness of the ropes and adjust accordingly.
And finally, to cast off, just slack off the lines and shore workers will lift the eye
of the mooring ropes off the bollards.
As always, if you got any questions, comment down below join the discussion.
Give this video a thumbs up and ill see you guys next time.
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Docking a Mega-Ship | Mooring and Berthing Explained! | Life at Sea

412 Folder Collection
吳易晉 published on August 4, 2018
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