Vessel Type: Bulk Carrier
The subject vessel was berthed on a NNE heading, port side to an exposed quay for cargo discharge operations. In the early morning, the wind was observed to increase in strength from the NW. The Master ordered the crew to deploy additional mooring ropes, with the final arrangement reported to be 4 head/stern lines, 2 breast lines and 2 spring lines forward and aft. The wind was logged as progressively increasing during the morning, eventually gusting to Beaufort force 9 to 10. With the ship fully exposed to gale force winds on the port beam, she began to move off the berth with all the forward mooring ropes either parting or rendering on the winches. Despite the Master letting go the port anchor, the ship continued to pivot about the stern lines and heavily contacted an opposing quay, causing significant damage to both the port structure and the vessel. The situation was eventually controlled with the assistance of a pilot and tugs and the vessel berthed safely alongside a more sheltered quay.
The strong winds experienced by the vessel had in fact been forecast in a number or weather reports received by the vessel over the 24 hours preceding the incident and should therefore have been expected by the Master. The number of mooring ropes deployed in anticipation of gale force winds was insufficient, particularly taking into consideration the exposed nature of the berth. The Master should also have considered requesting an alternative, more sheltered berth, or even departed for the open sea upon becoming aware of the deteriorating weather forecasts. However, the possibility of proceeding out to sea would depend upon the status of safe stowage and securing of the cargo remaining on board. The Master did belatedly request tug assistance but only after the vessel had started to part her moorings.
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