Martek Marine said that shipping companies are putting themselves at risk of facing corporate manslaughter charges if they do not carry an adequate number of maintained and certified gas detectors. European Marine Equipment Directive (MED) approval is a legal requirement for equipment aboard EU flagged vessels and a number of non-EU flag authorities who have also signed up to the protocol where oxygen or other flammable gas is potentially present.
Martek Marine Sales Director Steve Coulson said, “The Marine Equipment Directive relates to all European flag vessels. It’s been found that many of these vessels are carrying portable detectors without MED wheelmarking. If an accident occurs related to a gas hazard and the detectors are found to be not certified to MED standards then corporate manslaughter charges could follow.”
Last year, IMO adopted Resolution A.1050(27), which gives detailed recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships: “Appropriate testing of the atmosphere of a space should be carried out with properly calibrated equipment by persons trained in the use of the equipment . . . Testing of the space should be carried out before any person enters the space and at regular intervals thereafter until all work is completed.”
Martek pointed out that the issue of poor gas monitoring was highlighted in November in a very serious incident in which five seafarers lost their lives after asphyxiation by poisonous gases on the LPG tanker MV Maharshi Krishnatreya.