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The deck crew should be called to their stations well enough in advance of arrival at the dock to complete all mooring preparations. This is particularly important where the timing of the arrival or weather has prevented them from preparing mooring equipment during the previous workday.
If the master and officers are unfamiliar with the berth, the pilot should be consulted regarding the anticipated mooring operation. A diagram showing the vessel's mooring winches and capstans should be used to sketch the dock mooring arrangements and indicate the running of mooring lines. A copy of this diagram should be supplied to each officer who will be involved in the mooring operation. The pilot must be informed of any deficiencies in the vessel's mooring equipment. Adequate personnel must be provided to ensure the efficient handling of lines.
The mooring plan developed by the master and pilot must be sufficient to address the minimum requirements of the petroleum terminal, owner's requirements, anticipated weather, passing traffic and stresses of tidal currents. The mooring plan agreed should be in accord with the OCIMF Guidelines and recommendations for the safe mooring of large ships at piers and sea islands. The preferred mooring plan provides for long mooring leads to mooring points level with the mid-draft height of the mooring deck and includes two or three substantial breast lines at bow and stern.
Each deck officer should carefully examine the mooring equipment before it is put into use. Any damaged mooring wires, rope tails or fibre lines should be put aside. The condition of the winch brakes should be examined and the officer should note any defects in his deck book for the information of the chief officer.
Where fibre lines are used, they should be all of the same material and construction to provide even stress and elongation.
Most large tankers are fitted with wire mooring lines on self-stowing winch drums. These lines are heavy and can be dangerous to shore and ship mooring crews if not properly handled. A clear set of hand signals must be agreed between the officer and his crew so that the winches can be operated safely without the use of voice commands. Long leads are preferred for these mooring lines, both to reduce the amount of line tending required and because the holding power of the brakes is inversely related to the amount of wire on the winch drum (ie. more wire on the drum equals less brake holding power).
Mooring lines should not be heaved tight until all members of the shore crew have moved clear of the line and the mooring point. When the line is tight, the brake should be set to the approved tension and the tension gauge (if fitted), observed after setting to ensure that there is no loss of brake pressure.
Self tensioning winches should not be used in the automatic mode after vessel is all fast, as they may not perform properly to keep the ship securely alongside.
The vessel is considered properly moored when the manifold is aligned with the shore loading system and the parallel mid-body of the ship is firmly in contact with the fender face of the berth over the maximum length possible. The most effective method for preventing the ship from moving along the dock is to maintain it tight against the fenders using the breast lines and spring lines. Head and stern lines are relatively inefficient in mooring vessels when compared to breast and spring lines.

5.9.1 Emergency release
During the mooring operation, the master should evaluate the procedures he would use to complete an emergency departure from the berth. After mooring is complete, this procedure should be discussed with the shore terminal operator to determine if there is an recommended terminal emergency disconnect procedure. When the master has developed a procedure to his own satisfaction he should discuss it with the chief officer and direct that it be included in the chief officer's cargo orders.
Part of the emergency release preparation is proper placement of the towing off wires, or 'fire' wires. These should be positioned at the offshore bow and offshore quarter. The wire should be properly made fast on a set of bitts in a figure-of-eight fashion. The inboard eye should not be placed over the bitt. The remainder of the wire should be laid out on deck in one or two bights, free for running, with the outboard eye through a side chock and suspended at the water's edge by a lashing of rope yarn or light line which the tug can easily break to pay out the slack. The towing off wires must be tended each time the mooring lines are adjusted so that the eye is maintained at or near the surface of the water.

5.9.2 Anchor and gangway
If the anchor has been backed out ready for letting go while approaching the berth and mooring, it should be brought home and secured after the ship is all fast. Heaving lines and messenger lines should be retrieved and properly stowed. Where the vessel is moored with fibre lines, stoppers should be placed at each set of mooring bitts in use.
When the mooring operation is complete, the ship's mooring crew will prepare and swing out the ship's gangway, unless a better shore gangway is available from the terminal. The gangway must be landed in an area on the dock which provides adequate space for movement of the shore end due to changes in tide and vessel freeboard. It must be properly secured at the ship end, fitted with adequate hand rails and a safety netting and marked with a sign reading:

No visitors
No smoking
No open lights

If the gangway is aluminum, it should not be permitted to rest with the aluminum framing directly in contact with ship's steel hand rails.

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