By Alan Sorum
Council project manager
A recent conference on rope design hosted by Samson Rope, a leading producer of high performance towing rope, shared best practices for towing that may be applicable in Prince William Sound.
Founded in Boston in 1878, Samson is the world’s largest producer of ropes made with “Dyneema,” an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber. The company manufactures ropes of traditional fibers, like nylon and polyester.
Samson provided the emergency towing equipment for the last two foreign-flagged tankers that called on the Valdez Marine Terminal. The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency tasked with improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships, requires tankers to carry an emergency towing package on their stern. In addition to this equipment, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requires what is known as the “Prince William Sound Tow Package” to be carried on the bow of every tanker. This towing package consists of a messenger line, towline, buoy, and heavy-duty shackle that can be quickly deployed in an emergency.