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Beware of Quay Contacts in Kingston

Recent years have seen several incidents in the port of Kingston in Jamaica where vessels have all made contact with a particular quay on the entrance to the port’s basin.

These contact incidents have resulted in damage to the port, damage to the vessel and on occasion pollution. These in turn have led to high value claims.

Common Findings

On each occasion, the appropriateness of the speed of approach of the vessel into the turning basin was questionable. Other repeated factors included:

  • Tugs made fast very late as they did not approach the vessel until it arrived at the turning basin. This forced the vessel to maintain its course towards the quayside ahead until the tug was made fast.
  • Not enough tugs were available.
  • Tugs made fast in inappropriate positions.
  • Poor positioning in the approach channel.
  • Vessel’s arrival coincided with outbound vessels forcing it to miss the turning basin.

Masters Beware!

Masters and bridge officers should ensure that these potential issues are noted in the vessel’s passage plan and discussed before arrival at Kingston.

Crews are reminded of the importance of:

  • Effective passage planning: a well prepared and agreed ‘berth to berth’ passage plan that includes emergency anchorages, no-go zones, a point of no return and expected vessel speeds.
  • An effective Master-Pilot exchange (MPX): good communications between the bridge team and the pilot where the intended passage and berthing plan is discussed and agreed. This should include tug information, other vessel movements and vessel speed.
  • Passage monitoring: the bridge team should monitor the agreed passage and report the vessel progress to the Master and pilot. Report any deviations from the agreed passage such as cross track error, and vessel speed.
  • Monitor vessel movements in the port: these should be monitored by the bridge team, and reported to the Master and pilot.
  • Record it: the bridge team should maintain accurate records of the berthing including fixing the vessel’s position on the chart or ECDIS.

If in Doubt – Shout!

The Master and the bridge team must challenge the pilot if they are in any doubt.

Reduce the risk of any contact issues when operating in the port of Kingston by following best practice, being alert and establishing good communications between the pilot and bridge team.
Source: North of England P&I Club

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