confusion and misunderstanding when communicating ship-to-ship. They are by no means the only means of
communicating. Pre-arranged signals and codes, as well as Navy standard procedures such as found in NWP 14, are
valuable and highly useful tools available for communicating during towing operations.
3-10 TOW AND BE TOWED.
All U.S. Navy ships except submarines and aircraft carriers are capable of towing using its own emergency towing
hawser, usually a synthetic rope. When two Navy ships are involved in a "tow and be towed" operation, each provides its
own emergency towing hawser to form half of the total towing system connecting the two ships. See Figure 3-16.
Some Navy ships may be equipped with little used hawsers that are quite old, not realizing the recently understood
problems with deterioration of nylon rope over time. All should be alert to current directives concerning replacement of
emergency towing hawsers. Double-braided polyester hawsers, MIL-R-24677, are preferred.
3-11 TOWING NATO NAVAL SHIPS.
The NATO navies are concerned with emergency towing as part of their military mission as well as normal maritime
concerns for safety of life at sea and pollution prevention for all ships.
3-11.1 EMERGENCY TOWING PROCEDURES. NATO emergency towing procedures have been standardized in the
unclassified Allied Tactical Publication ATP-43 (NAVY) Ship-to-Ship Towing (Ref. 7). It was written with towing by
another combatant in mind. Generally this operation is accomplished with each ship providing its own towing hawser as
half of an entire rig of reasonable length. This activity is sometimes referred to as "tow and be towed." ATP-43 chapters
include sections on:
a. Principles of Operations
b. Organization and Command (including communications)
c. General Consideration of Towing Operations
d. Preparation, Approaching the Casualty, Passing and Connecting the Towing Rig
e. Conduct of the Tow
f. Emergency Release or Parting of the Rig
g. Transferring the Tow
The Annex to ATP-43 contains a description of the emergency towing hawser and its end fitting for most NATO warships
and auxiliaries. Change 1 to the publication (May 1987) also describes a NATO Standard Towing Link, which in the near
future should be found on NATO ships of over 1,000 tons displacement.
ATP-43 should be available on board every NATO warship and auxiliary vessel. The assigned tow ship might remind the
disabled ship's Commanding Officer of its existence, so that the disabled ship can better prepare for the arrival of the tow
3-11.2 TOWING DISABLED NATO COMBATANT AND AUXILIARY VESSELS. As noted in Paragraph 3-11.1, the
operational data contained in ATP-43, while accurate, are quite elementary compared to the background of the
experienced tug crew. Nonetheless, knowledge of the contents of ATP-43 will be useful to the naval tug or salvage ship
since it describes what the crew of the casualty should know concerning being towed. Additionally, Annex A to ATP-43
contains data on the towing hawser carried by each class of ship, as well as the end fittings on the hawser. Hawser
strength and dimensions, and static test of the end fittings are also provided.
While the fully-equipped tug or salvage ship normally can be expected to make the towing connection using its own
hawser and connecting hardware, there may be cases when it would be prudent to use the casualty's own hawser