AFO 952/1922.—Towing Operations—Precautions.
(N.L. 4380/22.— 7.4.1922.)
The Board have had under consideration questions of losses of vessels and other
valuable property through towage at sea in stormy weather, and desire to draw the
attention of all concerned to the need of taking special precautions in cases of long
2. Attention is drawn to Home Dockyard Regulation 551, which prescribes
reference to the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Station in question, for sailing
orders to be prepared.
3. The Commander-in-Chief will not usually order such operations in winter
(save of urgent necessity) unless the weather forecast shows the probability of
settled weather. Prior to sailing the latest forecast should be obtained by telegraphic
application to the Meteorological Office, Air Ministry, London, and during the voyage
the Officer-in-Charge of operations should obtain weather reports at regular intervals
4. The Commander-in-Chief will consider the necessity or desirability of
arranging an escort of one or more of H.M. Ships, or of placing the Masters of the
Tugs employed under the supervision of an experienced Naval Officer detailed
for the purpose, who will be either in the tow or tug where he can best exercise general
5. Instructions should be issued as to the maintenance of communications at all
times between tugs, tow and escort if provided.
6. Unless there are special reasons for doing otherwise, the departure of the tow
should be arranged to ensure a safe offing being gained before nightfall. The Senior
Naval Officers of intermediate ports should be notified of the sailing and the
Officer-in-Charge of the operation should be given discretion in case of bad weather
to shelter where most convenient, and, at intermediate Naval Ports where weather
forecasts are available, to ask for instructions as to remaining or proceeding.
7. When a vessel or other craft is required to leave in tow from a port at which
there is no Commander-in-Chief or Senior Naval Officer of the rank of Captain or
above, the Officer-in-Charge of operations will report direct to the Admiralty when
he has satisfied himself that the ship is in all respects ready for the intended
passage. The Admiralty will give directions tor the issue of sailing orders, or will
issue them direct, if necessary, and are to be kept fully informed by telegram
regarding the movements of the ship in accordance therewith.
8. Lighters and similar vessels should be surveyed from a constructor's point
of view before orders are given for their towage. Requests for professional assistance
of Dockyard .Officers should be made for this purpose if the Officers responsible do
not possess the requisite technical knowledge or are not satisfied as to the seaworthiness
of the lighter or other craft to withstand the strains likely to be experienced
while under towage.
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