"Monkey's fist" badly injured berthing master


A HEAVY knot, known as a "monkey's fist" and used on lines to secure ships at jetties, struck a berthing master on the head seriously injuring him, a court was told.

Mr John Delea of Ballyfouloo, Monkstown, Co Cork, was awarded £12,500 by Judge A.G. Murphy in the Cork Circuit Court.

He had sued Cork Harbour Commissioners, and the German ship owners, Tesch Beneendenuigs CMBH, for the injuries he received in the accident which occurred on August 10th, 1994.

The commissioners, with whom Mr Delea has been employed for the past 28 years, were held 40 per cent responsible and the German ship owners were deemed 60 per cent responsible for the accident.

Mr Delea was responsible for the safe berthing of ships arriving at the Tivoli docks.

On the date in question, a container ship, Verana B, was attempting to come alongside the jetty. Normally when the vessel is about 10 to 15 ft out from the berth, a line with the "monkey's fist" on top is thrown by a crewman, located on the stern slide to the berthing master.

When the line landed on the jetty, Mr Delea said, he picked it up and secured it, following which other lines are then thrown from the ship.

On this occasion the line was being thrown while the ship was about 50 ft out from the berth and it kept falling into the sea. There was an element of urgency in getting the Verana B tied up because another ship was rounding Blackrock Castle and there was a three hour flood tide which was dragging the vessel upstream.

The captain used his bow thrusters to bring the stern in and the heaving line was thrown again, falling just short of the jetty.

A second line was also thrown from the mid section of the ship.

The "monkey's fist", he discovered afterwards, which was on the second line, had struck him. He received eight stitches in hospital.