Fishermen’s lives are being made safer thanks to, what is claimed to be, the world’s strongest fibre.
Ropes made with Dyneema ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMwPE) fibre recently demonstrated during initial trials, how their outstanding performance can help fishermen around the world to work more safely, efficiently and cost-effectively.
Indian cordage manufacturing company Garware-Wall Ropes is a household name in the fishing community through its close bond with Indian fishermen and the company recently introduced Plateena Rope, produced with Dyneema, which is made by The Netherlands-based DSM.
During extensive trials, the benefits of Dyneema became clear when, in 2011, the fishing vessel Srinivasa was trialing the new Plateena rope warp lines in heavy currents. During a change of direction the net became stuck under a rocky surface on the seabed. The Plateena rope warp lines had only been on trial for three months and the crew were worried if the lines could withstand such an extreme situation.
After releasing additional rope to slacken the load on the boat, the vessel was drifting with the strong sea currents and the skipper was finding it difficult to maintain its position. Most of the rope had already been released and only a few more metres were left on the winch.The skipper decided to use the power of the engine to release the net and it was a significant decision. If the rope were to snap, their net worth thousands of rupees would be lost forever. This would mean no catch for the next few weeks, and with no work and pay there would be no food for their families. On the other hand, remaining ensnared on the seabed could result in the boat either sinking or capsizing.
Following two initial attempts, the skipper gave full throttle and suddenly there was a jolt. To his surprise, the cause of the jolt had been the centre pole, used to hold the pulleys, which had come out of its joint that was bolted on both the sides with 2.5ins nuts within a metal frame. The rope had remained intact, and eight hours later another boat arrived to help safely disentangle the net from the seabed – all carried out without any damage to the rope.
Mr Bablu, owner of the Srinivasa, said: “If we had been using steel wire, I am sure the rope would have failed within two hours and we would have lost the nets forever. Unbelievably the Plateena rope fought against the hazardous conditions for eight hours and still remained intact. I am thankful to this wonderful rope which saved the crew, the boat and our expensive fishing gear.”