HMC’s SafeTOW guards your safety

by Hans | June 18th, 2015

SafeTOW is HMC’s safety system which facilitates safe anchor handling and towing operations. This safety system is intended for all parties involved in these operations with a responsibility for safeguarding safety aspects in connection with anchor handling and towing.
  Last week, a terrible accident happened resulting in the sinking of a tugboat in the water near Busan in South Korea. One of the towing cables snapped and recoiled, striking one side of the tug boat. The accident happened in the waters near Dudo island. The crew members were found unconscious and were pronounced dead later in a nearby hospital. An investigation will start to find the exact cause of the accident. HMC would like to express our dismay and our grief over the victims and express our sympathy to their families.
HMC has a lot of experience in transport engineering as well as maritime operations and knows that safety is always an important factor of maritime transports. Therefore we developed a method to calculate stability aspects of vessels engaged in towing and anchor handling operations. Primarily this method was used as an engineering tool for our marine services projects. Currently we have managed to integrate our tool into existing equipment on board like stability computers.
For vessels that are used for anchor handling while at the same time are utilizing their towing capacity and/or tractive power of the winches, calculations must be made showing acceptable vertical and horizontal transverse force/tensions to which the vessel can be exposed. The calculations must consider the most unfavourable conditions for transverse force/tensions. Calculations have to be made for the maximum acceptable tension on wire/chain, including the maximum acceptable transverse force/tension that can be accepted in order for the vessel’s maximum heeling to be limited to one of the following angles. The heeling moment must be calculated as the total effect on the horizontal and vertical transverse components of force/tension in the wire or the chain.
In accordance with the above, we have designed the program SafeTOW which represents the current maximum allowable towline force. For every loading condition, the maximum allowed towline force is displayed giving the user the possibility to act in time. SafeTOW calculates the dynamic stability of the vessel in combination with the loading condition to assess the stability of the tug during an anchor handling operation. SafeTOW allows the user to safely operate an anchor handling operation within the operational limits set by SafeTOW, which indicates the maximum force on the towline.
The danger of a catastrophic loss of stability capsizing a tug cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately, it is one of the quickest ways to lose a vessel. Officers only have minutes to recognize the situation which is irretrievable. For a tug master, the safety of the crew and vessel are priority number one. We urgently need to find a way of preventing further deaths.  More information about our SafeTOW can be obtained at

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