Offshore InjuryBlog

The Dangers of Snap Back Accidents in the Mooring Operation

Mooring operations are one of the most important jobs offshore crew members perform; however, they are also one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs. If proper safety protocols are not followed, workers are at risk of suffering severe injuries that can even be fatal.

Dangers in the Mooring Operation

A vessel’s mooring area contains equipment and systems such as hydraulic motors, winches, piping valves, bollards, and anchor chains.

Below are a number of things that can lead to an accident in the mooring operation:

  • Using damaged or old ropes and wires
  • Not fastening the mooring ropes at the winch drum end
  • Using mooring equipment that is not properly maintained
  • Failing to make crew members aware of the snap back zone
  • Using untrained or undersized operating crew
  • Having an unclear mooring area
  • Lack of a non-slip deck
  • Directly joining the rope and metal line without using a thimble
  • Arranging ropes on a split type drum incorrectly

Snap Back Accidents in the Mooring Operation

The biggest danger in the mooring operation is the risk of a snap back accident. A snap back accident occurs when the rope or wire fails and “snaps back” toward the vessel. The parted rope or wire can travel back to the vessel with enough force to kill any crew member who is standing in what is known as the snap back zone – the area in which the rope or wire could potentially land on the vessel.

When ropes are pulled in a straight line, the snap back zone is relatively small, but if the ropes are turned in a roller or bollard, the snap back zone increases greatly. Every vessel should have the snap back zone clearly marked with paint so that crew members know where not to stand when ropes are in tension.

Seeking Compensation for Snap Back Injuries

If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a snap back accident, you should consult with an offshore accident lawyer about your legal rights. Offshore workers are protected by the Jones Act, so it is important that you seek out a lawyer familiar with maritime law.

At Arnold & Itkin, we specialize in representing injured offshore workers all across the country. Contact our Jones Act lawyers today for a free consultation.

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