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On Board Practical Advice
When visiting Members' ships, the Club's ship inspectors often observe good practices and initiatives that may be adopted on other ships.
Aft Emergency Towing Arrangement for Tankers
The aft emergency towing system fitted to tankers will typically consist of a wire towing pennant on a poop deck storage drum and a storage box containing the messenger and pick up gear. Frequently, the system is designed with the messenger line led from the storage box, through the fairlead and permanently attached to the wire pennant connection on deck to ensure that the equipment can be easily and quickly deployed in an emergency.
However, this means that the messenger, which may be of synthetic fibre or wire rope construction, will be exposed to the weather elements. A wire rope will quickly corrode with exposure to sea water and synthetic fibre ropes will perish if not protected from direct sunlight and funnel soot. These effects may significantly reduce the breaking load of the messenger line, possibly resulting in failure of the system in an emergency situation.
A protective sleeve fitted on to the exposed section of the messenger line will greatly reduce this risk. This sleeve may be of canvas or taken from a section of fire hose, for example, but it should still be capable of being removed to allow periodic inspection of the rope. Where wire rope messengers are fitted, the exposed section should be kept well lubricated and preferably covered with a water repellent tape.
Anchor lashings are used in order to avoid the anchors being lost while underway at sea. It should be noted that if the entire cable pays out in very deep water, chances are that the windlass would not have sufficient power to raise the combined weight of the anchor and cable. To prevent this, anchors are secured by applying the windlass brake, applying the guillotine and using anchor lashings. The anchor lashings form part of the securing system and are not designed to hold the whole weight of the anchor.
Workshop Machinery Guards
The absence of protective guards and shields on workshop machinery is a common finding of Club shipboard risk assessments and condition surveys. The images below illustrate effective and well maintained guards of transparent, impact resistant material, fitted to the lathe, drill and grinder. Workshop tools rotating at high speed have the potential to cause serious eye or bodily injury not only to operators but also other crew members present in the workshop. Regular checks on the condition of workshop machinery guards should form part of the shipboard planned maintenance system.
Shipboard Lifting Equipment
Club risk assessors occasionally find that portable lifting gear, including chain blocks, strops and slings are not checked and maintained on a regular basis. This Member has implemented a simple yet effective colour coding system for annual inspections of equipment. In the image shown, the colour code for the current calendar year is red and all inspected items are either marked with a red patch or have a red tag attached with the date of inspection. Crew can therefore see at a glance if equipment inspections are up to date. It remains good practice for crew to always check the condition of lifting gear on every occasion prior to use.
With bridge watchkeepers being increasingly subject to information overload, good management of radio navigation warnings and weather messages is vital. Rather than allowing the NAVTEX printout to carelessly roll up on the chart table, some of our entered vessels have displayed good control of NAVTEX messages, with watchkeepers signing off and acknowledging messages of concern to the voyage and positively recording that they have been acted upon. The messages are sorted out into their separate categories and prominently displayed as shown.
Cargo Hold Entry
Deaths resulting from crew or shore personnel entering holds without observing enclosed space entry precautions remain unacceptably high. The crew on this entered vessel were alert to the hazard and have provided a warning at the access hatches to check the oxygen content before entering the space. Numerous cargoes may cause oxygen depletion of the hold atmosphere and/or can emit flammable or toxic gases. Such warnings may therefore be enhanced by making it clear that full enclosed space entry procedures should be observed at all times prior to entry.
Well recorded checks and tests for cargo worthiness provide valuable evidence for the Member and Club in defending cargo claims. In addition to well ordered, contemporary and illustrated written records, this entered vessel has the dates of latest tests for weathertightness stencilled on the cargo hold hatch covers. This will assist in raising crew awareness to the necessity of performing these important tests on a scheduled and pre-loading basis and display to all concerned the Owners exercise of due diligence to make the ship seaworthy.
Good chemical storage
On an entered vessel it was observed the vessels crew had made a secure frame for the chemicals to be stowed in - hence less risk of spillage during adverse weather. Also note that the local chemical station is provided with PPE.
It has been noted that in several visited ships that the PPE equipment is usually missing from local chemical stations.
Fall arrestor safety harnesses
One entered vessel had replaced all its safety harnesses with fall arrestor type safety harnesses.
This style of safety harness breaks the fall of the user gently, leaving no shock damage after the fall
Good PPE station
This well laid out PPE station was found at the entrance to a locked chemical store on an entered vessel.
Locking the store promotes a change of thought before proceeding into the store at this point the crewman will be well aware of the PPE on entry to the store and will likely use it.
PPE should always be used when handling Chemicals.
Good welding area
As seen onboard one of the Clubs vessels, a clear well defined welding area complete with welding curtain.
areas such as these are potentially very dangerous. Good practise here will help prevent any incident.
Mooring rope protection
When the engine room "blow tubes" ie injecting high pressure steam through the tubes the after deck is normally covered in soot particles. In addition the ships after mooring ropes on the drums often suffer from either sulphur burns or in some extreme cases actually catch fire. This simple protective measure was seen protecting the mooring ropes. Simply, It is a half drum placed over the ropes. Another method of protecting the after ropes is to cover them with fire retardant canvas.
One of the Club's members has devised a system of deterring pirates when transiting high-risk areas. This fence can be deployed and removed as the Master sees fit to provide protection. Click on an image to enlarge.
Flameless Cigarette Lighting Device
The Ozilite Automatic Cigarette Lighter is a wall or post mounted flameless device for lighting cigarettes, recently seen on board one vessel entered with the Association. It is a popular device intended for installation in locations where the use of portable cigarette lighters or matches is not allowed - where a naked flame is to be avoided but smoking is acceptable.
High Visibility Valve Labelling
The image shows how, on one entered ship, overboard and sea valves in the engine room are clearly labelled using day-glo paint. The purpose of the high visibility labelling is so that the valves can easily be identified in a flooding / blackout situation.
HiFog fire extinguishing system in the engine room
One of the Club's ship inspectors recently found a HiFog fire extinguishing system being installed in the engine room of a vessel. This system is not only more environmentally-friendly than a CO2 system but also allows crew to escape while it is in operation.
Training Schedule Notice Board
The image shows a white board seen on a Club ship, detailing the training schedule for the month. This initiative demonstrates a proactive approach to on board training and safety, and also gives the crew the opportunity to see the training that will be undertaken.
Chemical Drum Stand
Engineers on this ship manufactured a stand for chemical drums used on board. The stand is an excellent way of supporting chemical drums that are in use, and will prevent spillages and free movement of the drum. Click on the image to enlarge.
Colour coding gas lockers
Colour-coding the oxygen and acetylene lockers is a good idea to reinforce the message that it is important to keep these gases separate. The images here show an example seen on board one entered ship. This initiative is particularly useful as some crewmembers may not realise the significance of the different colours of the gas cylinders.