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As the size of mega box ships has steadily increased, so has the level of difficulty in handling casualties involving them. A special 32 page edition of the Standard Club bulletin has been published and looks at the different legal, technical and practical considerations.
Ultra large container ships, or mega box ships as they are commonly called, can have a carrying capacity in excess of 20,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) and are frequently in excess of 14,500 TEU. This can have a considerable impact in the event of a casualty. In particular, the global shipping and insurance markets have expressed concern regarding the firefighting capability of these ships, which has not necessarily kept pace with their increasing size. It can be extremely difficult to find suitable ports of refuge to accommodate these ships and which have infrastructure capable of handling the number of containers on board.
The US Coast Guard (USCG) has issued an important Safety Alert on the dangers of confined space entry following a recent incident where three people were asphyxiated in a confined space on a drilling rig (MODU).
The USCG says that studies show that people often miss the obvious clues while working under enhanced stress and because their focus is on another activity. Several sources indicate that over 50% of those who perish in enclosed and confined spaces accidents do so while trying to assist and rescue their co-workers.
Ten crewmembers were on board the MODU preparing it for a heavy lift transport to an overseas ship breaking facility. They were successful in dewatering three of the MODU’s four legs.
Yet, the de-ballasting system was inoperable in the fourth leg because piping and valves had been previously removed. To continue pumping, the crew rigged a portable diesel engine driven pump to discharge the tanks.
The patented Oscar PressurePores system reduces propeller tip vortex cavitation by applying a small number of strategically bored holes in the propeller blades.
The addition of these pressure-relieving holes now allows ships to operate with a more silent propeller with a minimum of compromise on its efficiency or having to slow steam. Reducing cavitation also reduces its associated erosive effect.