Miko Marine AS of Oslo has signed on as one of the founding members of the Paris-based Maritime Passive Safety Association (MPSA). It has joined the fledgling organization to support its aim of encouraging the shipping industry to build ships that include features that will enable them to cope better in an environmental crisis.
Miko Marine's products include the ShipArrestor, a sea anchor designed to turn a supertanker into the wind and halve the speed of its drift in the event of engine failure. The ShipArrestor project is also designed as a helicopter-delivered salvage tool whose anchor creates more time for a ship to be put on-tow before grounding with disastrous consequences for the environment and those onboard.
Following demonstrations of the ShipArrestor’s effectiveness, its implementation is now being discussed by the maritime authorities in Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The current trend of government financial cutbacks and the predicted loss of the UK’s emergency towing vessels (ETVs) has given the system additional emphasis as a salvage tool.
The sea anchor can, however, be installed in a small container on the foredeck of any ship, where it can be launched automatically if the need arises. It is also being recommended for inclusion as part of the Emergency Towing System (ETS), which is compulsory for tankers and other vessels above 30.000 DWT. A 30-meter diameter sea-anchor applies a 700-square meter braking force that research, and full-scale testing has demonstrated that it can turn the ship’s bow into the wind and reduce its drift speeds by more than 60 percent. This is particularly important as a ship without power will always drift beam-on to the weather which can create extreme conditions on board. By keeping the bow up into the wind rolling is reduced significantly and this minimises the risk of deck cargoes or container stacks being lost overboard.
The Maritime Passive Safety Association is now working to encourage the construction of ships with features that will minimise their ecological impact by simplifying their recovery or salvage if things go wrong. The Fast Oil Recovery System from JLMD of France is a typical example as it is a product that enables the ship’s oil, whether cargo or bunkers, to be quickly and cleanly recovered if it is grounded. The Association is now keen to attract other manufacturers with products that can be added to the available inventory of passive safety technology.