Mooring. Two main ways are used to moor cargo and passenger vessels

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In most ports of the world, except those where cargo-handling operations are, for various reasons, effected in offshore waters, vessels intending to load or discharge are made fast to piers, quays or wharves with berths, of which some have become recently designed so as to work specific cargoes. These specially designed berths, equipped with modern cargo-handling facilities, are called terminals – container, ore and so on… There are also ports where cargoes are discharged with the help of lighters or special deep-sea buoys, equipped with hoses to receive liquid cargoes and convey them to shore stores.

Two main ways, depending on the vessel’s type, are used to moor cargo and passenger vessels. As a result, the vessel becomes made fast to the quay either alongside or head or stern to it. Mooring a vessel head or stern to the quay has become widely used with the development of RO-RO type vessels and CAR CARRYING FERRIES. Modern vessels of LASH type need no mooring berths at all. In a good number of ports tug assistance is compulsory while mooring, which can be attributed to limited port waters for manoeuvring.

Ship’s approach to berth should be effected at slow speed with both bower anchors ready to go in case of necessity. At an appropriate distance from the berth, in determining which ship’s speed, her tonnage, engine power and its reversing efficiency must be taken into consideration, the engine is stopped. It should however be borne in mind that the best way to “bring the ship up” is with her engine but not with the cable. It is also well to remember that most ships have lost way when the wash from the screws going astern has come half the ship’s length forward.

Vessels are made fast to shore BOLLARDS by means of mooring ropes (lines, hawsers) made either of wire, but mainly of synthetic fibers, like dacron. Head and stern lines, springs and breast lines are the main mooring ropes. They are given ashore with the help of a heaving line, the latter being light, strong and easy in handling, or special mooring apparatus. There may also be occasions when mooring ropes are given ashore by means of a mooring launch.

All mooring ropes given ashore should constantly be watched , as an alteration or water level or draught of the vessel and change of wind force or direction lay result in an excessive slackening or tightening and even parting of the ropes, thus exposing the vessel to danger. Strengthening of off-shore wind force may necessitate doubling the mooring ropes given ashore.

After the vessel has been secured in her berth ratguards should be placed on all the moorings connecting the vessel with the shore to protect both the vessel and the shore from rats.


1.  RO-RO vessel is a roll on – roll off vessel which is loaded or discharged by cars or trucks driving in and out of vessel through wide doors made in sides, head or stern.

2.  LASH vessel is a lighters aboard ship vessel which carries loaded lighters and launches them in or off the port of destination.

3.  BOLLARD is a large and firmly secured post of circular section. It is used for securing mooring ropes.

4.  HEAD LINE is a hawser leading the forward from bows of a ship to a point outside her.

5.  BREAST LINE is a hawser leading forward from bow or quarter at about right angles to ship’s head and stern lines.

6.  SPRING is a rope leading outside and forward to a point of attachment outside vessel

7.  HEAVING LINE is a small line that is thrown so as to reach a position on the quay and to allow connection to be established.

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