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New Tow Hook for Norwegian Lifeboats

Red Cross lifeboat Veritas demonstrates its towing hook in port at Tjome, Norway (Photo: Henriksen Hooks)

Posted by Michelle Howard

Henriksen showed its new towing hook for first time in the U.S. at the New Orleans International WorkBoat Show.
Since their first installation in May, the tow hooks fitted to Norwegian Red Cross lifeboats have demonstrated some major benefits for their crews. The charity was the first customer for the disc-type hooks that have been developed specifically for smaller craft by Henriksen Hooks AS. They offer guaranteed load capacity combined with a remote mechanism that enables the lifeboat to quickly release the tow in an emergency.
The 44 ft-loa RC Veritas was the first of 3 boats in the Red Cross fleet to receive the quick release hooks. Since the hook's installation in May the RC Veritas has made over 120 rescue missions on which some 25-per cent included a requirement for towing. Olav Falk-Pedersen leader of the Tjøme and Hvasser Red Cross Search and Rescue Corps, believes that the introduction of the towing hooks has brought some quantifiable benefits to the boat's crew who feel that the risks incurred with towing have been significantly reduced.
"Towing is a regular operation for us," he said. "Since May, the RC Veritas has been required to make a tow on roughly a quarter of the incidents that it has attended. They can be engine failures, crew incapacity, collision damage or groundings. The reasons are too many to count. In the past, whenever we towed another vessel we would secure the line to a bollard or cleat on the stern of our boat.
"This always created two major risks which the new Henriksen hook has now eliminated. The most obvious is that in an emergency we cannot quickly separate ourselves from the tow. If we find ourselves being towed sideways, for example, it can be very dangerous but with the Henriksen tow hook, pulling a lever in the wheelhouse or on deck causes the tow-line to be immediately released.
"The second risk arises through having no guarantee of our towing capacity. Putting a line from a large vessel around a deck bollard in rough weather leaves the crew fearful as to whether the bollard can take the strain. Because of this, we have always been cautious about the size of boats that we are willing to tow. Now, with the new tow hook we have a certified guarantee of the load that we can take. This gives us the confidence to tow much larger boats than we would have been prepared to risk before. In fact, during the summer we had occasion to tow a Princess 55 and also a 44ft fishing boat. We would not have risked towing either of them without a reliable and safe hook."
The new tow hook was developed by Henriksen at the request of operators of smaller vessels who complained that there was nothing on the market that provided the same protection afforded to tugs and ships.
The Henriksen tow hook is consequently a scaled-down version of the disc-type hooks used by tugs to tow supertankers.
The hooks are available in three versions for use with loads from ten, five and two-a-half tonnes. Each model is certified as being capable of towing loads up to six times greater than its designated strength. This makes it an important asset for any working vessel that is routinely engaged in towing operations. The hook can be used with wire or fibre ropes or steel rings and has been developed to introduce a higher standard of manufacturing and materials quality for a marine sector that has been poorly served in this regard until now. The new Henriksen hook is manufactured in high quality stainless steel and has a swivel mechanism that enables it to take and release loads from any direction or angle. Because the hook is of the disc type it brings the advantage of being able to absorb the sudden energy from the tow line being released without stressing the hook and its mounting. It is certified under DNVGL- ST- 0378 regulations and requires virtually no maintenance. After every interval of five-years Henriksen can test and recertify the hook to ensure that it has a long working life.
Henriksen Hooks are manufactured in a modern factory beside the Oslo fjord in Norway where there is a tradition of high quality engineering for the maritime industry. The company is well known as a specialist in the manufacture of single point lifting hooks for which it enjoys an unblemished safety record. The company's reputation is known to provide reassurance to boat crews around the world when they see the Henriksen name on a hook that their lives may be depending on. Whatever type of Henriksen hook is being used, vessel owners are aware that the entire weight of the boat, its passengers, crew and cargo are dependent upon the integrity of a single, relatively small piece of metal. Because of this, ship owners are always advised that they should never be tempted to cut corners with the quality or design of any hooks that they install and that they should ensure that their maintenance is carried-out professionally and on time.

Dec 8, 2017

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