The pan-European SuSy (Surfacing System for Ship Recovery) consortium has recently completed a set of sea trials at Chalkis shipyard in Greece. Led by BMT Group Ltd, the international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, the SuSy project has developed a rescue system to be used for merchant ships in emergency situations. Application scenarios include preventive installation on ships with hazardous cargo, rapid stabilization of capsized ships by coast guard and other rescue squads and recovery of sunken ships, as well as many other applications in this field.
SuSy utilises Kevlar reinforced balloons that can be rapidly deployed and inflated to provide extra buoyancy. The consortium tested two modes of deployment: Firstly, ‘Internal’ where balloons installed in protective covers within the double-bottomed test compartment were inflated, keeping it afloat until repairs or other emergency measures are implemented; Secondly, ‘Salvage’ where external balloons and gas generator packs were attached, providing support sub-surface and allowing the test compartment to be recovered to the surface.
The consortium has also developed a third concept using rapidly deployable internal balloons to create curtains which prevent capsize of roll on roll off passenger vessels by sub-dividing the car deck stopping water movement. Simulations have been conducted but this system has not been subject to live tests.
By counteracting the effects of water ingress and preventing damaged or unstable ships from sinking, the technology could help minimize the risk of major loss of life at sea.
The SuSy project is funded by the EU’s FP7 Framework for Research and Technological Development. The consortium consists of researchers from nine companies spread throughout Europe.