| Tuesday, June 17, 2014 |
disasters cause far too many injuries and fatalities each year, not to mention creating
financial hardship for the vessel owner or company. Many accidents can be prevented
by taking simple, precautionary steps. Below, we discuss three dangerous types of
accidents and ways to prevent them.
Ship Disaster #1: Sinking
of a ship is downright devastating. For vessel owners, the cost of repairing
the ship (plus the effect of negative press) has the potential to bankrupt a
company. The Boat Owners Association of The United States reports that the cost
of repairing a vessel after it’s been underwater amounts to roughly 40 percent
of its value.
important than the business aspect is the potential loss of lives that can
occur when a ship sinks. The world witnessed a recent catastrophe at sea with
the sinking of the South Korean ferry. Negligence was the cause of that
accident, mostly related to unaddressed stability issues, improperly loaded
cargo and failing to adhere to operational protocols.
Some tips to prevent a vessel sinking include:
- perform routine and
thorough inspections; and
- if there is a
structural integrity problem, take the immediate proper steps to remedy
can be deadly. Keeping a vessel in good repair and adhering to navigational and
safety rules will avert many disasters at sea.
Ship Disaster #2: Fires
causes of vessel fires are related to electrical and equipment failure. Most
vessel fires begin in the engine room. A fire easily and quickly can destroy a
vessel's control system, which can disable a boat in seconds.
malfunctioning equipment – specifically a leaky fuel line – that disabled the Carnival
Triumph last year and left thousands of people stranded in the Gulf of Mexico
without power or working toilets for five days.
To prevent vessel fires, it’s also
- perform regular and
thorough maintenance checks;
- have top-notch fire
suppression equipment on board (engine
room fires that can't be suppressed may result in losing the entire vessel
and increasing the risk of fatality for crew and passengers);
- abide by the rules laid out in Safety of Life at Sea
(SOLAS) and in Convention on Standards for Training, Certification, and
Watch Keeping (STCW); and
- ensure the captain
and crew have good firefighting training.
Ship Disaster #3:
often causes vessel collisions – whether with another vessel or with an object.
Poor lookout, sidestepping navigational rules, subpar navigation instruments
and amateur maneuvering all increase the risk of vessel collisions.
The best way to avoid a maritime
collision is to:
- keep up-to-date
- keep a close watch
at all times for traffic and on the radar;
- practice your
maneuvering skills, or,
if you operate commercially, only hire reliable, properly trained captains
to man your ships; and
- abide by the
Nautical Rules of the Road (contained
within the USCG’s Navigation Rules,
International-Inland, and in accordance with the International
Maritime Organization’s International Regulations for Preventing
Collisions at Sea).
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