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LNTM - 10/07/24

LOCAL NOTICE TO MARINERS No. 38 of 2024

Commercial Towage Operations in Cowes Harbour

Notice is hereby given that the Port Marine Safety Code ‘Guide to Good Practice’ requires Harbour Authorities to give special consideration to tows involving dead-ships or unusual objects and towage events of a non-routine nature (relevant extract of the Guide to Good Practice below). As Cowes Harbour do not have, or regularly sub-contract in, any harbour tugs, all towing/pushing operations are deemed as ‘non-routine towage’.

Shipyards, ship owners, towage contractors, tug masters, project managers  and  agents  are advised that the person responsible for the safety and planning of the manoeuvre (and thereby acting as the Towing Master) must be clearly identified for all operations and will be responsible for the production of risk assessments, method statements and passage plans which must be discussed and agreed in advance with Cowes Harbour Authority, via the Harbour Master.

This policy and procedure will apply to any commercial towage operation that exceeds 25m overall length or 12.5m overall width (to include the towing vessel and the item being towed).

A “Non-Routine Towage Assessment” Form, to be found on the Cowes Harbour website here, must be submitted electronically to the Harbour Master in advance of the operation along with a towage plan and risk assessment / method statement.  When the details of the operation have been fully discussed and agreed, the written approval of the Harbour Master, or his representative, will be given on this form, and then returned to the applicant.

The form, and other relevant documentation, should be forwarded at least 3 days before the intended date of the operation.

Extract of The Port Marine Safety Code Guide to Good Practice (revision 02/2018)

Dead Tows & Project Towage

10.4.8 Dead tows, unusual objects and non-routine towage events will require individual assessment, including risk assessment, and planning.

10.4.9 For arrivals/departures from/to sea, dead tows should be pre-approved by the facility (Harbour Authority) utilising a towage plan format which includes risk assessment and method statements regarding:

● harbour tug positioning and utilisation;

● whether the tow is to be transferred from the sea tug: transferring tows creates additional hazards, particularly handling heavy equipment, and whether the sea tug remains fast until the tow is alongside will depend on berth characteristics, locks etc., the characteristics of the sea tug and the availability of suitable harbour tugs;

● riggers/line handlers being transferred to the tow to recover sea gear, emergency tow lines and to prepare the tow for berthing;

● weather limitations and sea state;

● suitability of destination berth and whether adjacent berths need to be cleared; and

● the number of suitably experienced pilots required for the sea tug and/or tow.

10.4.10 For in-harbour non-routine tows, key decisions should be recorded and the person (acting as towing or barge master) who is responsible for the safety of the manoeuvre and the towage plan, should be clearly identified. This person is responsible for:

● conducting an appropriate risk assessment/safety case to be submitted to the harbour authority;

● producing a method statement;

● the passage plan; and

● the safety of the manoeuvre.

10.4.11 The facility (Harbour Authority) should give written approval for the tow to go ahead once the towage plan has been reviewed and agreed.

This local notice to mariners will remain in force until further notice.