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200539 Failure of Shore Bollards

Failure of Shore Bollards
MARS Report 200539

Being on a large cruise ship, one problem that I have experienced over the last couple of years has been when alongside in port with strong winds blowing us off the berth, rather than lines parting, the shoreside mooring bollards have failed. If bad weather is anticipated, we normally use a tie up of 8+2 forward and aft with a maximum of 2 lines per bollard if possible.

Two incidents which I have been involved with occurred in a big cruise ship port when our usual berth wasn't available due to congestion. The first being on a berth that was shorter than the ship but the Port Authority had built a mooring dolphin especially for cruise ships for this purpose and assured us that it was strong enough for all of the headlines - it wasn't and the entire dolphin collapsed, taking all lines with it. Then a rather precarious operation commenced using a diver to free the lines while using thrusters to keep the vessel alongside and a move to another berth.

The second incident occurred again while on a seldom used berth but this time with strong gusting winds, the berth only really had one bollard for headlines, one for breast lines and one for springs. The breast line bollard failed and due to a lack of spread of lines we drifted off of the dock.

On both occasions the Pilots had assured us that the bollards were suitable and strong enough to take our lines, however, it evidently was not the case. There should be a standard whereby both new and old mooring bollards have a determined SWL rather than having to rely on the pilots assurances that they are strong enough.