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KHM Portsmouth



King’s Harbour Master Portsmouth

LNTM 12/24

1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN jointly by the King’s Harbour Master Portsmouth and the Harbour Master Portsmouth International Port; that Masters and crews of vessels visiting are required to use properly constructed heaving lines for all mooring and towing operations. The use of ‘weighted' heaving lines is both prohibited and extremely dangerous, and may cause serious injury or a fatality to those on the receiving end ashore or onboard a tug or mooring boat. 

2. The UK Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen, Chapter 26 (26.3.5) states: “To prevent personal injury to those receiving heaving lines, the ‘monkey’s fist’ should be made with rope only and must not contain added weighting material. Safe alternatives include a small high-visibility soft pouch, filled with fast-draining pea shingle or similar, with a weight of not more than 0.5 kg. Under no circumstances is a line to be weighted by items such as shackles, bolts or nuts, or twist locks.”

3. There continue to be instances of weighted heaving lines being used, and this dangerous practice causes unacceptable risk to tug crews and shore mooring teams. In view of this, pilots are to confirm to tug masters at the initial call that the assisted vessel’s master has been briefed and confirmed that weighted heaving lines will not be used. If the pilot is not able to give this assurance, then the tug master may refuse to assist the vessel, in which case the KHM’s Vessel Traffic Services Supervisor will delay traffic clearance to the incoming vessel until the situation is resolved.

4. Additionally, vessels’ mooring parties should always alert shore mooring gangs, tug crews or others in the vicinity prior to throwing a heaving line.

5. Masters of vessels and Agents are reminded that heaving lines with inappropriate weighting, such as pieces of metal, are not to be used under any circumstances and, if used, appropriate enforcement action will be taken as necessary.

Heaving line

6. Shore mooring teams and Tug Masters have instructions to cut off weighted “monkeys fists” or any added or replacement weights from heaving lines, if used. The weighted “fist” or added weight will be retained as evidence in the event of proceedings being taken against the vessel and the user.

7. Ships’ Agents are also requested to bring this Notice to the attention of Masters of all vessels using the Port.

8. Portsmouth LNTM 12/23 is hereby superseded.


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