500th Ship Receives ERS Classification

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The Histria Perla is the 500th ship to receive ERS classification.

The Emergency Response Service (ERS) of Germanischer Lloyd has taken on its 500th ship: The Histria Perla, a chemicals tanker with a tonnage of 40,471 dwt was built in 2005 at the Constantza Shipyard in Romania and classed by Germanischer Lloyd. Nicolae Berechet, Technical Director of Histria Ship Management, received the 500th ERS certificate at the company's headquarters in Constanta, Romania. Accidents, collisions, oil spillages, groundings, on-board fires - the Emergency Response Service has been helping ships in distress for thirteen years. The service is triggered by telephone, using a special emergency number. The emergency call is received by the "Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre" of the German Maritime Rescue Service in Bremen.

From there, the ERS team at Germanischer Lloyd is alerted. All further exchanges of information with the shipping company and the crew are via phone, fax, telex and email connections reserved for the purpose. It is essential for the rescue service to have a computational model giving all the technical data for the ship in question. To produce this, GL works with HECSALV, a special "salvage software". If the ship has been classed by Germanischer Lloyd, existing model data can be used. "However, a ship does not have to have been classed by us to be able to use the ERS," says Norbert Kray, Head of Department Technical Support at Germanischer Lloyd.

In an emergency situation, the model is used to carry out a computerised simulation of the circumstances of the accident. On the basis of their detailed analysis, the experts then make recommendations for a possible rescue scenario. "That is what sets us apart from other providers of this service," says Norbert Kray. "We act proactively, develop a realistic rescue scenario, make concrete suggestions. We use the full range of expertise available in our company to offer productive assistance right from the very beginning." In the case of an emergency, the service provided includes expert analysis of the damage and a detailed recommendation for the rescue procedure. The benefits for the shipping company: "An accident can often cost several hundred million euros. If you have an efficient crisis management system, you can not only save considerable amounts of money, but also avoid serious environmental damage," says Kray.

Nearly 50 shipping companies are benefiting from Germanischer Lloyd's Emergency Response Service. 60% of the ERS certificates have been issued to container ships, 24% to tankers and 16% to other types of shipping such as bulkers, ferries or luxury yachts. A particularly important part of the partnership is to maintain a continuous exchange of information with the customers, not only in emergency situations. Kray: "This is why the GL Academy will soon be offering training courses to explain and test out procedures and how to deal with the ERS in an emergency." The first of these courses are planned for autumn 2007. Since 1993 it has been a legal requirement in the USA for oil tankers to contact an emergency service in case of an accident - a consequence of the Exxon Valdez accident off Alaska. In 2004, INTERTANKO has obliged its members to register their tankers with an Emergency Response System.

From January 2007, MARPOL will be requiring tankers over 5000 dwt tons to be registered with an emergency system. The Emergency Response Service from Germanischer Lloyd is also the ideal partner for companies preparing the Vessel Response plans for non-tankers required by the US Coast Guard.

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