RIGGING FOR TOW.
The strain on the towline will be severe if the towed ship contacts
heavy ice. Take special precautions to prevent the chain bridle,
chain pendants and hawser from chafing. An automatic towing
machine makes this easier. Avoid towing on the bitts; they may be
torn out by the sudden increases in tension if ice is encountered when
towing at short scope.
In a convoy with no icebreaker, all ships may be expected to tow. All ships should be prepared for both towing and being
towed The time saved in rigging the tow lessens the chance of being caught in the ice. Gear should be prepared in
advance; the crew should know how to complete the rigging quickly and safely.
The recommended gear for towing in ice consists of the following: wire rope towing hawser, a 21/4-inch chain pendant
and connection jewelry, or a 2/4-inch chain bridle with flounder plate and connection jewelry.
Before entering the ice, the bridle or anchor chains should be rigged to receive the towline. Even when using a bridle, it
is necessary to secure the bow anchors to keep them from striking hummocks in the ice This is especially important on
4-5 TOWING DISTRESSED MERCHANT SHIPS.
Occasionally, during routine operations and national emergencies, the Navy is called upon to engage in towing merchant-
type ships in distress. These may be MSC ships, chartered ships, ships engaged in support of operations and any other
merchant ships requiring assistance. In emergencies and in remote areas, these services also may be required to save
lives and valuable ships and cargo.
4-5.1 INFORMATION SOURCES. In recent years, various companies and trade groups have assembled information
intended primarily to provide guidance to merchant tanker operators in contingency planning. This same information can
be equally valuable to Army personnel who may become involved in rescue responses to merchant ships in distress.
Some particular publications are cited in Recommendations on Emergency Towing Requirements for Tankers, published
by the IMO and Peril at Sea and Salvage. A Guide for Masters (Refs. 11 and 12).
ATTACHMENT POINTS. In an ideal scenario a distressed ship would present to the rescuer an easily-reached
connection. This would be either a complete system including the hawser, or at least everything necessary to connect
the hawser to the ship The OCIMF recommendations have been superseded by similar IMO standards, which themselves
have not been formally adopted. Nonetheless, many of the larger tanker operators have complied with the IMO
requirements. See Appendix K for a more thorough discussion of towing large merchant ships. Lacking more definitive
information, the following apply to the linkage system which may be found on board some merchant ships, and to
alternative methods which may be used.
a. Pre-arranged tow points-Currently, the most popular pre-arranged attachment point on the tow is the Smit
Towing Bracket as shown in Figure 2-24.
b. Alternative points-The alternative points considered for attachment to a distressed ship are discussed in
4-6 UNUSUAL TOWS. Conditions may require towing floating structures in unusual positions. In recent years several
unusual tows have been successfully completed.
DRYDOCK (CAREENED). One example is the towing of an AFDM through the Panama Canal. These docks
are approximately 124 feet wide and, because of the limiting 109-foot width of the Canal, must be careened for transit.
This has become an established practice. When the transit operation has been completed, the careening procedure is
reversed to restore the dock to its even keel condition for towing to its destination.
DAMAGED SHIP (STERN FIRST). If a ship cannot be prepared properly for tow due to bow damage, the
feasibility of towing from the stern may be considered. Some ships will tow fairly easily from the stern, but most can be
expected to track very poorly.