Liquefied Gas Carrier

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Salvage operation guideline for liquefied gas carriers

In a condition of peril and rescue is requested by another ship the Master must decide if, based on the information and facts available at the time, salvage assistance is needed or if the situation can be stabilized using the vessels own resources. The Master shall report to the nearest coast station or MRCC and Company and keep informed about the developments.

The master has the authority to take whatever action necessary to safeguard personnel, environment and property without reference to a third party. This must be noted that it is better to overreact on the side of safety and pollution prevention than to delay action in the hope that the situation may improve, it should be assumed that the situation will not improve.
Refer also to the ICS/OCIMF document titled “Peril at Sea and Salvage – a guide for Masters" in addition to other relevant standards and publications available.

An emergency can occur at any time and in any situation. Effective action is only possible if pre-planned and practical procedures have been developed and are frequently exercised. The Contingency Plan provides guidelines and instructions that assist in making an efficient response to emergency situations onboard ships.

Liquefied natural gas ship underway
Fig:Liquefied natural gas ship underway

Emergency Procedures for rescue

Proceed towards vessel in distress as soon as practicable. At a minimum the following must be taken into account when assessing the situation:

i) Safety of personnel

ii) Weather and sea condition

iii)Nature of seabed and shoreline

iv) Availability of assistance

v) Risk for further damage to the ship

vi) Threat of pollution

vii) Proximity to shore or shoal water

viii) Current and tide

ix) Potential for safe anchoring

x) Damage already sustained by the ship

xi) Prospect of maintaining communication

xii) Manpower and material required

If the decision to require assistance has been taken, prompt action to contact any available resource using the most expeditious means at his disposal must be utilised. The master should use "Vessel's Casualty Contingency Plan" document extensively, and any third parties available (refer to “List of Coastal State Contacts” in the document titled SOPEP "Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan").

If third party assistance is required, the "Lloyds Open Form" is most usually offered and should be agreed upon to avoid any delays in the assistance being rendered. Salvage contract negotiations should not in any way delay the engagement of the salvers.

Prepare to receive assistance from salvage vessel in order to reduce loss of time. The preparations will depend on the circumstances. The safety of personnel and protection of the environment must be deciding factors in the choice of actions.

Inform the salvager of all relevant information regarding vessel details, description of the situation, type of danger or distress, oil pollution equipment onboard etc. Throughout the entire operation the master must constantly evaluate the situation with regard to:

i) Safety of personnel

ii) Environmental protection

iii) The vessel’s stability considering:

Transfer of cargo / bunkers
Controlled flooding
Jettison of cargo
Stress and stability
Onboard communication
Communication with outside sources of assistance
Mandatory notifications
Advisory messages (security)
Casualty reports

Search and Rescue:
Refer to the IMO publication "Merchant Ship Search and Rescue Manual" (MERSAR Manual).

Initial Actions

After receiving the distress message from vessel, take immediate contact with nearest coastal radio station and repeat the distress message if the station does not know already.

Inform the coastal radio station of your vessel’s name, call sign, position, speed, and confirm that you are heading for distress position.

Request information from the vessel/persons in distress.

Listen on the emergency frequencies

The coastal radio station will inform whether your assistance will be needed. If not needed, proceed for original destination. Make a report to the Company about extent and means of the search and rescue action.

Before reaching the search area or distress area, organise the crew into groups and establish a watch arrangement with continuous lookout from several positions. Keep continues radar watch.

Consider - the type of rescue methods which may be used under prevailing conditions. Prepare to pick up survivors from sea.

Pick up wreckage for identification if time permits

Rescue of Survivors General

Consider - existing conditions that can make the rescue operation hazardous. It could be wise to wait until weather has improved or until daylight, for instance

Investigate whether suitable rescue craft are available

If possible, establish communication with the survivors to obtain information about their condition and the circumstances

During all rescue operations the rescuers must wear life-vests for obvious reasons

Refer also to the IMO publication Merchant Ship Search and Rescue Manual (MERSAR) regarding search patterns and alerting authorities and radio stations

Note the dangers of using oils like fuel oil in oil bags to calm the seas as these oils produce toxic hazards to survivors and rescuers, especially if the oil enters the lungs. The use of lubrication oils or spill oils will reduce the danger of poisoning, however, vegetable oils or fish oils are not poisonous.

Report all occurrences to Owners

Rescue from Wreck

If conditions allow, try direct transfer of survivors from the wreck by means of your vessel’s rescue boat or lifeboat

Check the surroundings for drifting wreckage that may endanger the operation

Consider - use of oil to calm the seas either to windward of the wreck or to leeward so that the wreck can drift into the oil slick

Consider - position your own ship to give the rescue boat some shelter

Launching a lifeboat in high seas requires a high degree of seamanship and only the most experienced personnel should try to perform that exercise.

Launching is most favourable when the vessel has wind and sea a few degrees on the bow.

If conditions are too difficult, consider using a line-thrower to have a good rope or a hawser pulled over to the wreck. Bring over a second line that can be used to haul a life-raft back and forth between the vessel and the wreck

If it is not possible to shoot a line over the wreck, consider towing a raft from your vessel and let the raft drift down to the wreck by manoeuvring your vessel into a suitable position. The towing line must be made fast around the raft as a normal painter would not withstand the strains

Rescue from Survival Craft

Prepare taking the survivors onboard from the rescue boat. Do not expect any assistance from the survivors, as they are probably exhausted and seasick

Stretch a boat line from forward to aft to keep the craft in position. Nets should be hung over the side. A raft may be used as a platform. Crewmembers with life buoys and lines should be posted to help survivors who might fall into the sea during the transfer

Some of your crewmembers should be prepared to board the survival craft in order to assist the survivors

Rescue of Survivors from the Sea

Survivors in the sea must be regarded as being in imminent danger. The quickest possible rescue is required.

All survivors must be hauled out of the sea in a horizontal position in order to avoid the fatal shock effects of the loss of water pressure against the body when it is taken out of the sea in a vertical position. If possible, spread out a net under the survivor and roll him horizontally out of the sea and over the railing of the rescue boat

Rescuers, who jump into the sea to assist, must be secured by a line and use immersion suits

Survivors must be given the appropriate treatment for the circumstances. Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia

End of Rescue Action

If a survival craft or other boats have to be left adrift after rescue operations, the nearest rescue centre must be notified. Information about the position, description of the boat, weather conditions, possible drift etc., must be given together with information about possible radio-transmitters that are automatically sending out distress signals in the area

Notify all earlier contacts when the rescue operations have been ended, and cancel distress calls and messages

Related Information:

  1. Towing/Assistance from another Vessel

  2. Liquefied gas carrier safety training

  3. Tackling fire onboard liquefied gas carrier ship

Abandonship procedures - Immediate Evacuation By Own Survival Craft

Collision accident - Emergency procedure for Liquefied Gas carriers

Encountering High Winds and/or Waves - countermeasures

Salvage operation guideline

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