Late on the evening of 23 February, EUNAVFOR warships in the Arabian Sea were alerted that an incident had occurred on board a German owned container vessel, 155 Nautical miles South East of the island of Socotra, resulting in burns to one of the crew. A request for immediate assistance and possible medical evacuation was received soon after.
EUNAVFOR warship FGS Hamburg, which was on Counter-Piracy patrol in the area, immediately launched its helicopter and evacuated the injured sailor. The casualty will be kept on board the FGS Hamburg until she reaches her next port of call where he will be transferred to a local hospital for further treatment. The family of the injured Russian sailor, have been informed by the company. Details of the incident that resulted in the injuries are not known at this time.Continue reading »
On Tuesday 27 April, AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre – Australia was contacted by the Master of bulk carrier Atlantic Bridge requesting assistance with the medical evacuation of an ill crew member.
The vessel, which was 250 nautical miles south west of Adelaide, was diverted towards Kangaroo Island and Australian Helicopters were tasked to respond. AMSA’s dedicated search and rescue Dornier aircraft, from Essendon, assisted in providing top cover for the operation.
The crew member was airlifted off the carrier and transported to Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Often regarded as a safer alternative to traditional evacuation by lifeboat for passenger ships, the Marin-Ark system, manufactured by RFD Ltd. of Belfast, involves dropping a chute from the ship with a liferaft built-in and passengers or crew sliding down into the waiting liferaft. One fatality is recorded in a chute-type escape system, when the casualty was jammed in a ‘piked’ position with the chute and suffocated but the system has been regarded as generally reliable.
On 1st February this year one of the Marin-Ark systems installed between decks on the Pride Of Canterbury was given an annual test as part of a joint European inspection. As the carriage mounted on hydraulic rams moved outboard to lower the chute and liferaft it caught on the outer doors, which had only partially opened. The carriage continued to move forward and upwards, twisted, broke deck plates loose and sheared the hydraulic rams off their mountings.
However, the liferafts were still tipped off the carriage, landed in the water and inflated as normal. It wasn’t possible to check how securely the chutes were attached and it was considered too dangerous to use them.
The second system was initiated but again fouled on the outer doors. The carriage was still able to move into the correct position and the rafts and chutes deployed normally. When the liferafts were being bowsed-in against the ship, however, the aluminium-clad stainless steel bowsing wires parted under tension.
Investigation showed that, even though the equipment was designed for the maritime environment, the hinges of the outer doors, which were mounted outside the ship, were fouled by salt and corrosion which prevented them from opening. This went unnoticed because there were no instructions to test or maintain the door hinges and the only time they were in use was during the annual inspection.
Similarly, the aluminium channels through which the stainless steel bowsing wires travelled were choked by corrosion, which prevented them moving freely.
Says the report: “The manufacturers inspected all other vessels fitted with similar equipment, and satisfied themselves that the equipment would function if required. They undertook a detailed technical investigation into the incidents and, in consultation with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, developed modifications to prevent similar faults from occurring in the future. The system was subsequently demonstrated on board Pride of Canterbury and the sister ship Pride of Kent, and found to work correctly.”
So, just because equipment is designed or intended to be virtually maintenance free and suitable for the marine environment, it pays not to take them for granted, and not to wait until an inspection to find out they don’t work as required.