Casting off vessels from Tsunami hit Ports/Harbours

Casualty Circular No. 6 of 2005





To enforce the provisions of International Conventions and National Regulations governing the Indian / Foreign Flag Ships in Indian major/minor and private ports with the aim of achieving safety of ships, ports and marine environment.


To guide Flag State / Class Surveyors, Ship Owners, Ship Managers, Ship Agents, Training Institutes, Workshops, Masters and Seafarers.


The Tsunami waves travel out of the epicenter of the Earthquake and can be extremely dangerous to the ships and crafts that are safely made fast inside the harbors, when it reaches the coast. In one of the major ports of India a large number of Indian and Foreign ships sustained extensive damage due to parting of moorings during the assault of Tsunami waves on 26th December, 2004.


The investigation into these casualties revealed that the extent of damage could have been reduced had the ships which were safely made fast along side in the harbour had let go their moorings in planned and systematic manner.

Based on these findings, it is recommended that:

1.  The Ship Owners/Ship Managers shall ensure effective familiarization training on safety and operations of vessel in port under STCW Code 95 is given on board the vessel.

2.  The Master of the vessel shall ensure the watch-keeping officers keep effective watch in port even when the vessel is safely moored or anchored. A special measures such as readiness of main propulsion system, bow/stern thruster units, emergency towing arrangements, anchoring system and securing arrangements for the ramps/unitized cargo may be initiated by the Ship Master in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as Tsunami waves hitting ports and harbors.

3.  In most such cases, it would be prudent if Master prepares his vessel for immediate shifting to the open waters in consultation with the Port authorities.

4.  The Master of the vessel shall plan the casting of mooring, configuration in consultation with the attending Pilot.

5.  While casting off from the berth, the use of anchors and ships propulsion system shall be used judiciously, keeping in mind the limitation of the vessels and restricted maneuvering space within the port.

6.  The Master of the vessel shall ensure to follow the prescribed Port regulations and Port Traffic Signals during the maneuvers from berth to open sea where permitted to cast off vessel without assistance of the Pilot.

(Capt. V.D. Baijal)
Dy. Nautical Adviser to the Govt. of India

Back to NT Circulars main page

Map of India showing the epicenter of the earthquate

Go Top