November 11 - Samson, a world leader in performance cordage, has launched a new synthetic emergency tow-off pendant (ETOP) called Vulcan.

Vulcan is a core-dependant, jacketed rope that uses Samson's patented heat-resistant technology specifically developed for the ETOP application.

ETOPs, which provide a means of towing a ship away from the dock in the event of a fire are, according to Craig Kelly, director of international sales for Samson, "... rarely used for their intended purpose. However, crewmembers must continually handle them when coming into terminals and for training exercises. Handling heavy wire ropes is difficult, cumbersome, and can cause a number of physical injuries. Vulcan is 60-70 0ghter when compared with wire rope, which significantly reduces the various mooring-related injuries associated with handling wire rope in this application." Which will be comforting for HLPFI readers among crews onboard MPVs and other heavy lift ships.

Vulcan is made of 100% Technora® and is enhanced with Samson's patented heat-resistant coating, which is applied to the strength-member core. Samthane coating is also applied to the jacket to provide protection against abrasion, ingress of foreign material, and damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. Prior to heat exposure Vulcan's new rope breaking strength meets or exceeds the industry standards.

Required by most if not all ship terminals, the ETOP is positioned along side the vessel and monitored in order to maintain a specific distance from the water. Adjustments are made to the ETOP as the ship's ballast changes during the loading and offloading of cargo. Wire rope has traditionally been used in this application, though steel-wire ETOPs have proven problematic.

Over the last several months, field trials have been conducted on the U.S. West Coast with excellent results. "We really like the Vulcan ETOP," says Captain Pete Hall of OSG. "Two people can easily move it around the deck and over the longitudinal's. One person can deploy and if needed one person can retrieve. The line is flexible and light, and the length with eyes on both ends means no more figure eighting on the bits. Plus, there's plenty of line for a tug to work with."

Vulcan is another synthetic solution from Samson designed to enhance the safety of crewmembers while meeting the needs of demanding commercial marine applications.