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Marine Guide

What Is A Mooring Buoy?



What is a mooring buoy?

Before we delve into the question of mooring buoy, let’s first understand the basics.

Mooring is the act of securing a vessel to a permanent structure. It is also a noun and refers to the thing that it is moored to, like jetties, piers, wharfs, anchor buoys, etc.

A ship is secured to moor to prevent it from moving freely in the water. So if there is no nearby shore that the ship is anchored to a mooring buoy.

It fixes the vessel’s position relative to a point at the bottom of the waterway. However, mooring anchors cannot be used at certain places. This is when a mooring buoy comes in handy.

What Is A Buoy?

A buoy is a floating object in the water used as a navigation mark, to highlight reefs or other hazards, or for just mooring. It can be anchored (mooring buoy) or allowed to drift with ocean currents.

Metal, plastic, or foam is used for the construction of the buoy depending on its function. Buoys are deployed to assist in the navigation of vessels, indicating the channels and hazards warning.

What Is A Mooring Buoy?

A mooring buoy is used to secure a water vessel.  This kind of a buoy is anchored at the bottom.

It is a structure which is kept afloat at a specific position in the waterway with a heavyweight fixing its position. The weight is located underwater on the sea floor which fixes its position. To this, a ship can be secured to with the help of chains which come with the mooring buoy.

Use of Mooring Buoy By Cruise Ships

A mooring buoy is especially useful in places where there are coral reefs. Normal anchors would uproot the coral thereby disrupting the marine ecosystem in that place. Thus, there is no need for an anchor.

The coral is very fragile and easily broken. The broken coral quickly fouls anchors and ships that do anchor in these brittle corals often drag across the sea floor causing further extensive damage to the reefs.

Hence in places like Australia, Asia and some parts of the US where there are coral reefs, mooring buoys are in place of anchors for the ship.  Permanent mooring buoys float on the water and vessels safely anchor their boats to them.

Use of Mooring Buoys For Cargo Ships

Mooring Buoys called Single Buoy Mooring is a loading buoy anchored offshore. It is used both as a mooring point, and an interconnect for oil tankers loading or offloading.

Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is a voluntary association of oil tankers. It provides expertise in the safe and environmentally responsible transport and handling of hydrocarbons in ships and terminals and setting standards for continuous improvement.

They have set some rules and regulations that the shipping tankers need to follow when they use mooring buoys. Now mooring buoys are preferred over traditional anchors due to the environmental benefits. A mooring buoy has become one of the most relevant equipment in the shipping industry.

If the oil has to be transported from one oil rig to another, it will take a lot of time in only carrying the oil. Midsea transfer prevents this. The mooring buoys are stable, and when it comes to unloading the cargo present in the ships, it is straightforward.

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