Emergency Towline BAT Study and Trial

  • Client:
    Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC)
  • Completion Date:
    June 2021
  • Project Type:
    Operations, Logistics, & Transportation Planning
  • Service Categories:
    Marine Consulting
  • Challenge:
    Evaluate the performance of top-scoring towline deployment devices.


Glosten put four line-throwing devices and one surface float line system to the test during a live exercise conducted for the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC). This practical trial was a follow-up to a previous Glosten study looking at best available technology (BAT) for tanker emergency towline deployment. On a breezy summer day, our team boarded the Bering Titan with device manufacturers, distributors, Prince William Sound Stakeholders, and members of industry, and set out into Puget Sound to analyze the real-world performance of top-ranked technologies developed for this purpose.

Restech line gun gaff


Passing a small-diameter line to or from a disabled vessel is the critical first step of any emergency towing operation at sea. Each system was scored based on how safely and effectively it was able to accomplish this task in a simulated emergency scenario. The practical trial validated the capabilities of some of the systems and the subsequent analysis showed that the highest-scoring devices were Restech Norway’s PLT-SOLAS and PLT-Multi, followed closely by the Ikaros Line Thrower. The EVATS retrieving line system also performed very well during the deployment trial, and recently proved its mettle (in parallel with the Restech PLT-Multi) by successfully aiding the rescue of a 681-foot (207.5-meter) containership that experienced mechanical trouble off the coast of Oregon.

The results of Glosten’s Emergency Towline Deployment Practical Trial are being used by the Prince William Sound Citizen’s Advisory Council to develop a set of recommended practices for emergency towline deployment that will be shared with industry and Alaska state policy makers.

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