Best Practice Recommendations for Ocean Towing MODUs Expert Presentation

This paper was written by Bartley Eckhardt, P.E., of Robson Forensic; and Capt. Eric Johansson of SUNY Maritime College; and presented at the International Tug & Salvage Convention, Marseilles, France, 2018.

Ocean Towing of MODUs - Expert Presentation

In late December 2012, the Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) Kulluk was being towed during heavy weather by the anchor handling towing vessel Aiviq. For numerous reasons, Kulluk became separated from Aiviq, and despite multiple attempts to regain control of Kulluk, it grounded on a remote island. There was no loss of life or environmental damage, but the incident was a near miss of spectacular proportions.

Following investigations by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the USCG tasked the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) to review the relevant investigation reports and develop best practice recommendations for ocean towing of MODUs.

This paper presents and analyses the more seminal recommendations of TSAC’s report, including:

  1. Defining Critical Tows according to risk
  2. Criteria for voyage plans and tow procedures
  3. Criteria for proper technical analyses of Critical Tows
  4. Criteria for the monitoring and logging of gear
  5. Requirements for emergency tow gear
  6. Competencies and responsibilities of the tug master and tow master
  7. Roles and responsibilities of the marine warranty surveyor

Although the reports and recommendations of TSAC apply first and foremost to the ocean towing of MODUs, many of the recommendations could apply to any ocean towing evolution. The full TSAC Task 14-01 MODU Kulluk ROI Final Report is now available online.

This is a synopsis.
The full paper can be accessed here.

Featured Expert

Bartley J. Eckhardt, Marine & Mechanical Engineer

Bartley J. Eckhardt, P.E.

Marine & Mechanical Engineer
What better expert for matters relating to marine and industrial engineering than a Merchant Mariner who's versed in ship design and operation, who co-authored the U.S. Navy Towing Manual, and… read more.

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