The problem of ships breaking free from their moorings due to a combination of bad weather and insufficient mooring ropes has been tackled in a new, simple to use mooring app.
Former Harbour Master and Master Mariner Captain Mike Nicholson runs Shipmove, a marine consultancy offering practical solutions for ships, ports, and people. Shipmove specialises in navigation strategies, marine civil engineering consultancy and maritime risk.
During his career, both at sea and as a Pilot and Harbour Master, Mike witnessed a number of incidents involving vessels breaking free from their moorings and decided to study the safest and most effective ways to moor a ship. He has spent more than 10 years and thousands of hours researching and perfecting the data and calculations in the new app which has been written by his son Cameron.
Using the principal dimension of a vessel LOA (length overall), Mike has established a verifiable and reliable method to determine with a high confidence level; the transverse and longitudinal area of the vessel above the water line exposed to wind, and the transverse area below the water line exposed to current. Mathematical calculations are then made to determine the maximum forces experienced by the vessel so that the number and type of mooring lines needed to restrain these forces is identified to those involved in securing the ship.
In essence, a complicated calculation has been simplified to use just five variables: length overall, vessel type, load condition, wind strength and current strength. The app will then tell the ship’s officer, how many headlines, breast ropes and springs are required. All at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional mooring programmes, and, being written by a sailor for sailors, it is far easier to use than competing products.
“When you bring a ship alongside there are a number of factors to consider including berth configuration, weather, wind speed and tide but once you are berthed, the important aspect is to keep it safely berthed. In doing so you need to evaluate the forces acting on the vessel so that the lines don’t break due to the strain put on them by the environment,” said Captain Nicholson. “This app simplifies the many complex processes to determine the right number of mooring lines to deploy to prevent disasters such as we’ve seen in recent years when large ships break free. Causing damage to the ship itself, riverside infrastructure, and the marine environment.”
The app is designed for use with large ships over 100m in length and is primarily for ships’ officers, terminal operators and port authority staff. It is easily downloadable on both Apple and Google platforms and costs just £9.99. The complex calculations can be completed in just 60 seconds.
“I feel that I’ve brought a very complicated methodology to the reach of every vessel or port operator so they can confidently deploy the most effective moorings to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew,” added Captain Nicholson. “It takes away the guess work and is recordable and transmissible for auditing purposes and in case of any incidents.”