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When ships are assisted by tugs, experience, teamwork, communication and above all insight

into the capabilities and limitations of ships and attending tugs are essential for safe and efficient
shiphandling. This applies to the tug captain and his crew as well as the shipmaster and pilot,
particularly nowadays as older conventional tugs are increasingly being replaced by modern
types with larger engine powers and increased capabilities. Reputable shipyards build good tugs,
and designers can predict how well their tugs will perform. However, they do not handle ships
themselves and have not experienced the tug assistance required: not in a river, channel or port
approach nor in a confined harbour basin, not during a storm or in strong currents nor in the
middle of a foggy night. Not even during nice, calm weather. These are the situations and
conditions in which pilots and tug captains have to handle ships. So it is essential that they know
what can be expected from a tug in any specific circumstance. Only when these professionals
are fully aware of the capabilities and limitations of the various types of tugs in general and of
an individual tug, including the effects on an assisted ship, are they able to utilise tugs in the
safest and most effective way and in harmony with a ship's manoeuvring devices.

How can operational safety be achieved? There are different factors leading to safe tug use, and
if one of these factors does not get proper attention or has not been handled carefully, operational
risks increase and accidents will happen. The different factors are: Safe tug operators (towing
companies). Safe tug and safe tug equipment. Safe tug operations. Safe working practices of
pilots. The four factors will be highlighted below. Safe tug operators Safe tug operators will take
care of the following major aspects: Safe tugs. Well trained and experienced tug crews.
Safe working schedules.

2.3.2 Propulsion and rudders


Propulsion and propeller control
Propeller efficiency and manoeuvrability
Movable flap-rudders
Schilling rudders
Flanking rudders
Towmaster system
Other systems
Bow thruster

It should also be clearly understood that training is only as good as the instructor. The instructor
should not only have the capability to train other people but should also have the right experience

regarding the aspects he is training. All these aspects are discussed in the `Interaction and Tug
Safety paragraph of reference [1].

The Facilitation Committee at its thirtieth session (27 to 31 January 2003), the Maritime Safety
Committee at its seventy-seventh session (28 May to 6 June 2003) and the Marine Environment
Protection Committee at its forty-ninth session (14 to 18 July 2003), recognizing the importance
of the provision of adequate tug assistance in ports for ensuring maritime and port safety, the
protection of the marine environment and the facilitation of maritime traffic, approved the
issuance of this circular to assist port authorities and port operators in assessing the adequacy of
the tug services in their ports.