Length: 8 Min.
Anchor Handling is one of the most demanding and inherently dangerous tasks performed in the Marine service industry.Long hours, bad weather, wet and muddy decks, hand and finger pinch hazards and proximity to heavy buoys and wires under strain are some of the risk factors that must be taken into consideration whenever handling anchors. Recognizing these factors is the first step to working safely.Anchor Handling ProcessBegin the anchor handling process by retrieving the anchor from the barge, also known as Deploying the Anchor.The Buoy will be suspended over the side of the barge by the crane. A 20 foot cable with safety hook will hang below the headache ball.The anchor handling vessel will back up in order that a deckhand can retrieve the buoy soft line with a boat hook.The soft line is shackled to the pennant wire through the buoy.The deck hand passes the soft line eye to the tugs anchor hook, and then clears the deck to a safe area.At no time should the crane operator move the crane toward the vessel with the buoy suspended unless the tug captain or mate directs him to do so.Once the deck is clear the tug operator picks up the soft line and pennant wire onto the suitcase winch, until the winch has a few turns on the drum.The crane operator releases the buoy at the direction of the tug operator. The tug operator winches in the pennant wire until the anchor is hanging below the buoy.The tug proceeds to the release position as directed by the anchor foreman on the barge. Once it has been determined the location is clear of pipelines or obstructions the anchor may be released to the bottom.After the anchor has been released to the bottom and the pennant wire is paid out to the soft line, the deck hands release the anchor hook from the soft line with the trip hook.This next procedure outlines the steps necessary to move a set anchor. Begin by readying equipment on deck, walking out the suitcase wire and anchor hook from the drum and around the pop up pins to the vessel side.The vessel will pull up along side of the anchor buoy. A 3-inch soft line is shackled into the pennant wire sockets.The deckhand on the side of the tug’s back deck will grab the soft line with a boat hook, also known as a spike pole, and place the eye of the soft line into the anchor hook shackled to the suitcase wire. The deckhand must make sure it stays hooked until light tension is placed on the line. After the connection is secure, the deckhands will clear the back deck immediately walking to a safe area...A deck hand will attach a trip line to the anchor hook and when directed by the tug operator will pay out cable until the trip hook releases the soft line.At times, in shallow water, it is necessary to pull the buoy so that the pennant wire will go though the buoy. This can be accomplished by using the choker cable attached to either end of the buoy. A deckhand will retrieve the buoy choker cable with the boat hook.Another deck hand makes the choker fast to the stern of the tug by passing a 1.5 inch synthetic line through the buoy choker cable eye and then up and over one end of the norman pins.Never use your hands or fingers inside the buoy choker cable eye to place or remove the cable on or from norman pins. Such action can easily cause the loss of fingers. Using a soft line is a lot less dangerous.Upon completion of an anchor handling job you will need to return the anchors to the barge. Repeat the process of moving an anchor, up to the point where the tug operator picks up the buoy pennant wire and winches up the anchor until it is hanging below the buoy.