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Transport Malta’s MSIU issued an investigation report on the fatality of a crew member onboard the Maltese-registered chemical tanker ‘Scot Berlin’ in August 2017. The immediate cause of the accident was the entry into a space which had a significant presence of toxic gases suspended in the air.
The vessel arrived at Marsaxlokk Oil Tanking Terminal loaded with two parcels of cargo. Following the completion of cargo operation, the crew members started the ballasting of the vessel since her next trip to Spain was a ballast voyage. Ballasting in the forepeak tank started under the supervision of the second mate.
Red Ensign Group members have been attending an intensive course aimed at working with them to ensure their safety investigations of marine casualties and incidents are carried out in line with international requirements.
While the REG delegates are already experienced in such investigations, the course run by the UK-based Marine Accident Investigation Branch combines the requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s Casualty Investigation Code with its own experience and best practice.
To assist shipping companies to prepare for implementation of the UN IMO global sulphur cap for ships’ fuel oil, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has produced – free of charge – some comprehensive guidance on implementation planning, to help ensure compliance across the shipping industry with this regulatory game changer.
The free ICS guidance has been prepared for the vast majority of ships that will comply after 1 January 2020 using fuel oils with a sulphur content of 0.50% m/m or less.
According to TT Club, container fires are a far more regular occurrence than most people would realise. Statistics show there is a major container cargo fire at sea roughly every 60 days. So, tackling fires and subsequent investigations are complex and vitally important activities.
With increasing container ships size increases the risk of a fire incident increases too. Despite some regulatory and technical advances, the fact is that the ability to respond to a cargo-related fire at sea has not progressed as needed in recent times.
To tackle a fire in a hold, TT Club notes a CO2 system will be installed if the ship is carrying dangerous goods. The gas released from a CO2 system can displace the oxygen in the hold and smother the fire. However, for CO2 to be effective, the hold must be closed to retain the gas and prevent oxygen ingress.
If an incident has taken place in a container stowed on deck, water will be the only option available . Nevertheless, it is unlikely to extinguish a fire inside a container in the short term.
The West of England P&I Club has warned operators and others involved of the dangers of carrying nickel ore. Carrying nickel ore can be dangerous, because of the risk of liquefaction of the cargo on passage when the moisture content is higher than the cargo’s Flow Moisture Point (FMP).
After a number of ships being lost, with liquefaction of their nickel ore cargoes suspected of being the cause, the West of England Club published a Notice some years ago addressing the Dangers of Carrying Nickel ore. This Notice is still in forced and was re-issued as No.13 2017/2018 – Dangers of Carrying Nickel Ore from Indonesia and the Philippines – Mandatory Notification Requirements (re-issued).
The Club reminds operators of the risk of liquefaction with this cargo, as showcased by the loss of the ‘Emerald Star’, which claimed the lives of 11 seafarers in October 2017.