Safe mooring

Overview of safe mooring

Why is mooring a topic that deserves high attention? Mooring and unmooring is one of the most frequent operations onboard of ships. 

The maritime industry has seen many incidents during mooring operations over the last decades, among other factors, due to the high frequency of mooring operations and their high level of human involvement:

  • “227 mooring related incidents reported in five years, 22% of these incidents resulted in injury.” – Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  • “97% of ships that had a mooring incident onboard during the last 24 months” – UK P&I Club reported in 2016
  • “From 1997 to 2013, 402 accidents were registered on Danish ships, with four fatalities and 43 injuries reported” – SOLAS SDC6

Increased focus on the safety of mooring operations by the industry and regulatory bodies

Some maritime industry sectors have provided guidance for safe mooring already for many years the tanker industry with OCIMF’s Mooring Equipment Guidelines.

For cargo and passenger ships constructed on or after 1 January 2007, IMO and IACS have requirements to mooring arrangements, equipment, and fittings. 

To further improve the safety of mooring operations, IMO recently has implemented new requirements, incorporated in the amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8 on towing and mooring equipment. 

The updated regulation is supported by the following guidelines:

  • New Guidelines on the design of mooring arrangements and the selection of appropriate mooring equipment and fittings for safe mooring (MSC.1/Circ.1619);
  • New Guidelines for inspection and maintenance of mooring equipment including lines (MSC.1/Circ.1620);
  • Revised Guidance on shipboard towing and mooring equipment (MSC.1/Circ. 1175/Rev.1).

The requirements will apply to new cargo and passenger ships:

  • For which the building contract is placed on or after 1 January 2024 or
  • In the absence of a building contract, the keel of which is laid, or which is at a similar stage of construction on or after 1 July 2024; or
  • The delivery of which is on or after 1 January 2027
SOLAS II-1/3-8 paragraph 9 and MSC.1/Circ.1620 with new maintenance and inspection requirements will also be implemented for existing ships from 1 January 2024.

Related links


IMO Maritime Safety Committee

Read our Technical and Regulatory News and download the PDF (Nov. 2020)


A new look at safe mooring

Read our related Maritime Impact article (June 2020)

Related videos


Mooring Safety Webinar by The Nautical Institute

Watch the video


Importance of safe mooring

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Mooring Plan

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Mooring plan execution

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Best practices during adverse conditions

Watch the video


How to maintain mooring lines

Watch the video


How to maintain mooring winches

Watch the video


How to select and install new mooring lines and tails

Watch the video