Wearing thin —MAIB warns that ground tackle may fail

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MAIB warns cruise industry that anchors and chains may fail because vessels have been at anchor for so long during the pandemic.

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has warned the cruise industry that the ground tackle of many of the cruise ships laying idle and at anchor may fail.

The MAIB said it is currently aware of several instances of anchors, chain and other ground tackle failing due to prolonged use because of the pandemic.

Andrew Moll, the MAIB’s chief inspector of marine accidents said the issue was concerning and that the MAIB wished to make the cruise industry aware of the problem.

The sight of cruise ships stacked along the English south coast was commonplace last year and many vessels dragged their anchors trying to ride out winter gales.

“One cruise ship lost both its anchors within a week,” Moll said. The MAIB stated that the strength of ground tackle is codified by ship classification rules and is intended for temporary mooring of a ship within a harbour or sheltered area.

“In good holding ground, the anchoring equipment should be able to hold the ship to a maximum wind strength of 48 knots in flat water, but this reduces to a maximum of 21 knots wind strength in seas with a significant wave height of 2 metres,” MAIB added.

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