Improve Chances of Survival When Abandoning Ship

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The NTSB recently investigated an accident that required the crew to abandon a weather-damaged liftboat in near-hurricane-force conditions.

Several problems leading up to and during the vessel abandonment negatively impacted the 10 crewmembers’ probability of survival once they were in the water, and four of them died as a result:

  • The company hurricane plan did not account for rapidly and locally developing low pressure weather systems. This reduced the crewmembers’ ability to properly plan for the developing storm and to make an early decision to leave the vessel through routine means before the onset of the storm.
  • The vessel had recently been equipped with two new inflatable throw-over-type liferafts. However, the liferafts were inflated on deck instead of in the water when the crew prepared to abandon the vessel. This led to the liferafts blowing away from the vessel and vanishing in the high winds and seas. The crewmembers ended up clinging to a lifefloat, which, unlike the liferafts, did not provide out-of-water flotation, shelter from the elements, and nonperishable food and drinking water.
  • Although the crewmembers had gathered additional food, drinking water, and other supplies while preparing to evacuate, they failed to take these with them.
  • The vessel was equipped with an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), which if activated would have quickly alerted authorities and narrowed the search area. However, the crewmembers did not take the EPIRB with them when they abandoned the vessel. As a result, they spent three days in the water before search and rescue assets were able to locate them.


What can mariners do?

  • Develop and execute a thorough weather preparedness plan. Ensure that your plan takes into account surface low pressure systems, nontropical storms, and other weather systems that may form rapidly and locally. (For example, not all hurricanes approach from the east.)
  • Ensure you know how to use safety equipment. Don’t wait until a real emergency to find out whether you know how to properly use lifesaving equipment. Instead, include in your regular weekly or monthly drills a thorough step-by-step assessment of all such equipment, especially liferafts, which can’t actually be deployed during drills.
  • Plan before evacuating. Before an emergency, ensure you know your assigned duties and responsibilities―such as who’s bringing what supplies―and ensure the responsible person is aware of the location of those items.
  • Drill as if it is a real emergency. Conducting realistic drills gets the attention of crewmembers, builds their confidence and proficiency in emergency response procedures, and reinforces a strong safety culture. Review drill performance with crew to identify areas for improvement.
  • Even in coastal waters, plan for the worst. Despite being close to shore and/or in a normally high-traffic waterway, don’t assume that others will be able to come to your immediate aid, especially if your location changes. Be physically and mentally prepared for the possibility of a prolonged exposure situation.
  • Follow your plan. In emergency situations involving high stress and exhaustion, ensure all aspects are covered by running through step-by-step emergency procedures in accordance with established checklists. Use shoreside support resources to assist you with this.
  • Don’t forget the EPIRB. The EPIRB is a vital piece of equipment that can significantly shorten the time necessary to locate and rescue you. Take it with you! In addition, carry a personal locator beacon (PLB); it is an inexpensive and effective device.
  • Stay together in the water. Search and rescue personnel will more easily spot a group of people in the water than dispersed swimmers.

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Coast Guard

CBP, AMO Unveils New Interceptor Vessel

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and SAFE Boat International celebrated the unveiling of AMO’s newest coastal interceptor vessel (CIV) Thursday.

Details El Faro's Sinking Emerge from US Probe

U.S. investigators on Friday concluded two weeks of hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro in a hurricane last fall that included reports the vessel had

Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $1 Bln for US Icebreaker

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has included $1 billion in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.

Maritime Safety

Long Beach Port Maintains Strong Bond Rating

Fitch Ratings, one of the top three U.S. credit analysis agencies, has affirmed the Port of Long Beach’s “AA” rating on its outstanding debt. Fitch stated the AA rating — its highest for U.

Phoenix Express 2016 Concludes

Maritime forces from North Africa, Europe, and the United States concluded exercise Phoenix Express 2016 with closing ceremonies in Souda Bay, Greece May 27. Phoenix Express,

US Hospital Ship Aids South Korean Sailor

A U.S. hospital ship conducted a medical evacuation, or “medevac”, May 27 to assist an ailing Republic of Korea sailor aboard a Republic of Korea Navy (ROK-N) submarine.

Government Update

1,076 Graduate from U.S. Naval Academy

The U.S. Naval Academy graduated 1,076 men and women at the annual graduation and commissioning ceremony May 27 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm.

Details El Faro's Sinking Emerge from US Probe

U.S. investigators on Friday concluded two weeks of hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro in a hurricane last fall that included reports the vessel had

Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $1 Bln for US Icebreaker

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has included $1 billion in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.

Offshore Energy

Strike In France: Implications for Tanker Demand

After the oil industry suffered from a severe drought in Venezuela, forest fires in Canada and rebel attacks on oil installations in Nigeria, it is now facing

Floating Storage Flattens Fortunes of $50 Crude

The prices of WTI and Brent crude briefly rose above $50/bbl during intraday trading on Thursday, the highest level seen since the end of July 2015, giving traders a brief moment of optimism,

Höegh LNG FSRUs on Strong Ground

Höegh LNG is upbeat on the group’s FSRU prospects as its profit rise comes on the back of an almost tripled average regasification flow rate on Höegh LNG’s FSRU

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0952 sec (11 req/sec)