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A risk assessment of existing operations


MARIN was asked to carry out a risk assessment for SacTun Port in Mexico to investigate whether tug assistance during manoeuvres would make nautical operations safer.


Martin van der Wel, m.v.d.wel@marin.nl


Lining-up to the port basin


A HAZard IDentification was conducted, in order to identify potential hazards and risk control measures. The HAZID served as input for a Risk Assessment Matrix. Based on the main potential risks and the proposed mitigation measures, the effect of the measures was indicated in a Risk Assessment Matrix. After taking the proposed mitigation measures, all risks were As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).


The identified top risks resulted in the recommendation of the compulsory use of a Portable Pilot Unit (PPU) amongst others things. This enables pilots to continuously monitor the motions of the vessel, thereby increasing their situational awareness.


Overall we found that the inclusion of a tug in operations does enhance safety. However, including a tug also requires extra effort i.e. teamwork between pilots and tug masters. For these site-specific operations, the inclusion of a tug was deemed less effective in its ability to improve the general safety level, compared to alternative mitigation measures such as a PPU.


20 report


Located in Calica, SacTun Port has been operational for more than 20 years. Around 200 Panamax bulk carriers arrive in ballast and depart in a loaded condition every year. The initial design studies for the port (in order to establish the layout) were conducted in 1986 and MARIN contributed to these by conducting real-time manoeuvring simulations. However, nowadays dedicated modern bulk carriers are equipped with a bow-thruster and a high-lift rudder and more conventional bulk carriers, with a less


powerful bow-thruster and a conventional rudder, are calling at the port. In a new project for the port MARIN was asked to conduct a risk assessment in order to investigate if the inclusion of a tug during the manoeuvres would make nautical operations safer. MARIN teamed up with the local pilots and worked alongside them during manoeuvres in various conditions. The observations and interviews with the pilots were invaluable, enabling us to get important insight into the difficult parts of manoeuvring and how the operations are performed.


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