Classification societies should only approve full MEG4 certification upon full compliance with testing requirements and without qualifications that could compromise safety, says Lankhorst Ropes’ senior wet cargo area manager Hans-Pieter Baaij
The primary function of the MEG4 mooring rope guidelines is to maximise safety. Lankhorst Ropes fully supports MEG4, but it believes the certification is being compromised. Now that the market has digested the OCIMF MEG4 recommendations, some worrying trends are beginning to emerge with respect to the way companies are completing the mandatory Mooring Line Base Design Certificate. It is vital that rope buyers understand how to read the Certificate’s performance indicators or test results and check the Type Approval Certificate. What do all these indicators mean, what do I have to look for and what should I ask my supplier?
All tests need to be witnessed and certified by an independent class society and listed in the Mooring Line Base Design Certificate. Therefore, the first thing to check is the stamp and signature – is this from a reputable agency? The Certificate should contain a clear statement that the rope is manufactured, tested and documented according to Appendix B of the MEG4 Guidelines. Statements like “in order to meet” or the rope is “manufactured according to MEG4 Guidelines” are vague and most probably do not (completely) comply. It is also important to note the Certificate is only valid if officially stamped and signed by the testing individual at a classification society or a third-party – not the manufacture. Without the correct stamp and signature, PSC may decide during vetting of a vessel that the Certificate is not valid.
The Mooring Line Base Design Certificate summarises the test results/performance indicators, while the Type Approval Certificate records compliances and any qualification to the MEG4 testing conditions which may possibly invalidate the claim to MEG4 compliance.
“Testing to only 10% of the MEG4 requirement is not a true measure of the rope’s performance”
The Mooring Line Base Design Certificate is a list of the results from testing the rope under different conditions. The Line Design Breaking Force value indicates the break load of the rope when spliced. It is in direct relation to the ship design MBF. The mooring rope is tested to Angled Break Force, which gives an indication about the strength loss when a rope is bent. Another important indicator is the Angled endurance test. It gives an insight about the strength loss and long-term performance during bending. Again, the higher the percentage the better. In this test, OCIMF has determined to cycle the rope for 17,000 times.
Another facet of the Certificate is the axial compression resistance, which tests the ability of the mooring rope when it is cycled for 10,000 times at normal working load level. The higher this number, the less impact the axial compression phenomenon has on the rope.
For the Type Approval Certificate, checking page two will show if these last two tests have been conducted to full MEG4 compliance. For example, there are MEG4 Type Approval Certificates issued by respectable classification societies where the angled endurance test was reduced from the 17,000 cycles to 1,700 cycles and the axial compression fatigue test from 10,000 cycles to 1,000 cycles. Testing to only 10% of the MEG4 requirement is not a true measure of the rope’s performance.
Another worrying practice involves issuing what appears to be a MEG4 Certificate, but which states the mooring rope is ‘under testing’. This renders the Certificate meaningless. Lankhorst Ropes asks potential buyers to be aware of the wording on the MEG4 Certificate and Type Approval Certificate. In Lankhorst Ropes’ opinion, the notes on page two of the MEG4 Type Approval Certificate are so important that they should be promoted to the first page of the Certificate, to make it clear to what extent a mooring rope was tested as regards the full requirements of MEG4.