608 - 11/08 - Unsafe Berth - Salvador, Brazil

An incident investigation has found berth fendering at Salvador to be in a poor state of maintenance. Vessels sailing to the port should be vigilant to the condition and suitability of fendering before committing to coming alongside the berth.

A claim has recently been brought against an entered vessel for costs associated with the replacement of a berth fender that broke away as the vessel was coming alongside. The master reports that a pilot was on board and the vessel came alongside parallel to the berth as intended.

A subsequent investigation has found the existing fendering at Salvador to be in a poor state of maintenance. Fendering there is of the type consisting of two jumbo tyres secured either side of a metal plate and hung from the quay on chains. Although the cost of replacing a fender of this type is not expensive, damage caused to vessels due to damaged or missing fendering can result in large claims and pollution incidents. In such cases the vessel is initially highly likely to be held responsible, which may result in delays in sailing.

The survey has found that most tyres on the berths are partly damaged/cut, heavily pressed and with exposed hanging chains - in no condition to withstand the heavy pressure that can be exerted on them during normal vessel berthing operations.

In the case reported in this bulletin, the concrete base from which the fender was secured was found with signs of damage from several previous incidents. Additionally, the hanging chains were heavily pitted and corroded. One of the chains was also sighted to be partly damaged and bolts were missing from the securing arrangement.

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Date07/11/2008