The wreck of the RENA Salvage

MERT WorldwideMERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

One of history’s most expensive ship salvage jobs is set to get even costlier, with a major new underwater project to be put on the MV Rena’s running tab of $300 million.

Neither the owners nor the salvors contracted to chop away the structure could reveal estimates of the operation, which adds to what was this year listed as the third most expensive salvage in the world.

The latest project will kick off in October, two years after the ship struck the reef and spilled 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the ocean.

It comes after concerns had been raised that the block, which housed the ship’s bridge, crew quarters, offices and galley, could collapse and send more debris towards the shore.

Captain John Owen, of insurers The Swedish Club, said he understood that people did not want the uncertainty of not knowing when such an event might happen.

“Although there is a considerable cost to removing the accommodation section, we recognise the importance of minimising the effects on the community of the Rena grounding as much as we can.”

While yet to lodge a resource consent application, the Rena’s owners have sounded their preference for leaving part of the wreck on the reef after properly containing the site.

Their initial approach had been to leave the accommodation block after making it safe to use as a diving attraction but changed their minds in light of wave action and currents potentially battering it into a hazard. Removing the block is scheduled to take 80 days. Half of that time allows for bad weather and sea conditions, and will begin once a special crane barge arrives from Singapore.

US salvors Resolve Salvage and Fire will cut away sections and lift them on to a barge to transport to the Port of Tauranga and scrapped.

A team of smaller craft at the site will prevent debris reaching the shore. Minimal damage would occur to the reef.

Salvors are meanwhile whittling down the Rena’s bow to 1m below the lowest tide mark, removing container wreckage from damaged holds and clearing hundreds of tonnes of debris from the sea floor.

The entire operation – a logistical nightmare which has involved a race to pump Marmite-like oil from fuel holds and cranes plucking away containers stacked in high leaning towers – has now reached the point where nothing of the Rena is visible from above the water.

Assessments of the wreck’s environmental, social and cultural impacts are due to be complete by the end of the year, and until then the owners say any decision to lodge a consent application won’t be made.

Several iwi groups have gone to the Waitangi Tribunal in a push for the wreck to be completely removed and appeals have been lodged with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council over a temporary suspension of the reef’s recognised environmental status.

Long, slow haul

US salvors Resolve Salvage and Fire will remove the accommodation block in two sections by cutting it away from the deck. Each section will be taken by barge to the Port of Tauranga and dismantled for scrap and recycling.

For a video of the next stage click here

 

 

Jamie Hawke – Emergency Response Professional

100_0035 MERT Worldwide - Simulated Fire Fighting Training

MY ROLE AS THE SHIPS ON BOARD EMERGENCY RESPONSE TRAINER

I am responsible for Emergency Response Training on board. As the Lead/Head ER Trainer I will plan and schedule all on board ER training and exercises which involve:
1. Coordinating all on-board ER Training
2. Planning ER exercises that target specific aims and objectives
3. Identify all safety precaution – Complete risk analysis prior to exercises and training and implement mitigation to safeguard against personnel accidents and damage to on board plant and machinery. Other measures include ensuring the ship is navigational safe for the period of the planned exercise.
4. Organise and co-ordinate all training aids required for exercises or to support the planned training program
5. Liaise with other departments on board to overlay their training objectives in a ‘whole ship’ ER exercise – To include medical, engineering, bridge/navigation, aviation, command and control (C2)
6. ER Management team – Validate the ships ER standard operating procedures, mentor, coach ER managers on the roles and responsibilities in the on board ER management team.
7. First Response – First response procedures for all on board emergencies.
8. Fire team – BA wearing, Fire team emergencies and Fire team procedures
9. Toxic gas and HAZCHEM – ER Team procedures, containment, evacuation and casualty handling
10. Leak stopping – Stability, containment, salvage and repairs
11. Aviation – Aircraft emergencies, ship ER response to aircraft emergencies and procedures
12. Medical – Casualty handling and medical evacuation
13. Train the trainer
14. Assessments- Validate crew members actions at all levels of the ER organisation
15. ER Management – update statistical data which tracks ER exercises completed and the grade achieved. It is also a training planning tool which tracks currency of ER training.
16. ER Coordinator – Liaise with other ER services, plan and co-ordinate joint training ventures between NZ Fire Service, WESTPAC Rescue Helicopter and other ER agencies.

Jamie HawkeMERT Worldwide

Helicopter Crashes In Auckland Harbour


MERT Worldwide – Aviation

The New Zealand Navy responded to the MAYDAY call and rescued two survivors.

Do you have an AVIATION crash plan in place?

Would you like your crash plan validated by experts in this field?

What are your SOP – Standard Operating Procedures for helicopter DITCHING?

What is your priority should your helicopter or a visiting helicopter have engine failure and have to ditch?

MERT Worldwide can and will validate your Aviation Crash plan. I will however offer guidance in this post.While designing a SOP for Helicopter Ditch the first priority is rescue survivors.  The second priority is salvage if possible.  These are very broad statements but I will attempt to break that down when validating SOP’s for helicopter ditching.

Priority One – Rescue

How will you carry out the rescue, do you have a fast response vessel available to get to the scene of the incident – RHIB, inflatable.
What equipment is required to affect a safe rescue of the crew – A knife to cut seat belts to free trapped air crew and passengers for example?
Is a member of your crew capable of conducting advanced medical care for injured crew and passengers in the helicopter?

Priority Two – Salvage

What equipment is carried on board to assist keeping the Helicopter afloat – Flotation Bags? What assistance will you require from other rescue agencies what equipment will they need that you currently do not carry.
What processes or SOP do you have for a helicopter Crash on Deck?

MERT Worldwide can validate you current SOP’s or we will make recommendation to improve your current SOP.
Maritime aviation is a high risk evolution, there are many things the crew can do to mitigate all risk. There is normally no warning and if there was a warning the air crew will ditch in the sea. What happens in the event of un-alerted emergency?  The only way to prepare is to train and regular train for helicopter emergencies.

Cruise Ship Fire

This incident which was consider minor still provides many good lesson learned, these lesson will help prevent a tragedy in the future. Equipment failure, ship processes, maintenance processes what ever the cause there will be good lessons learned from this minor incident.

The Australian Navy Ship Westralia – Had a major Engine Room fire on the 5 May 1998 resulting in the death of four crew. Westralia is a Navy Supply ship capable of underway replenishment. It was carrying 20,000 tonnes of fuel at the time of the fire. The fire started in the Engine Room when flexible hoses (Fuel lines) failed.  One hose in particular provided fuel to a hot surface (Indicator Cock nearby). This hot surface ignited the fuel and was the source of the fire. The flexible hoses were installed to replace rigid/solid pipes, which had a history of leaking. The Parts failed and people died.

The ‘Lessons learned’ from this are well documented and a simple Google search will provide a source document for further reading. The point MERT Worldwide makes in this post, is there are always lesson learned, it needs to be captured, then recommendation made, and any changes to processes implemented to stop this from happening again. In the case of Westralia, the investigation reached 161 conclusions and made 114 recommendations – LESSON LEARNED from mistakes made.

What are the lesson learned in the case of the RENA, which ran aground of the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and the Costa Concordia, which ran aground and resulted in deaths?

Will we as mariners see a lessons learned investigation document?  I expect we will once legal action are completed. Lets hope that the circus that surrounds the legal outcomes of the Costa Concordia incident do not mask lesson learned.

Human error or a mistake normally results in a incident whether it is minor and only discussed at local level or it is a major disaster, which will be on every news headline.Those of us in the maritime industry need to see these reports so the industry can learn from these mistakes. Adding, more technology to aid in navigation and reduce groundings has not and will not stop ships running aground we need to prevent mistakes and this starts by providing appropriate level of training.

The Westralia report identifies that people were not adequately skilled. People were in a position to prevent this tragedy if they had the necessary skill sets. The Westralia report stated “On the 5 May 1998 four Royal Australian Navy personnel (crew members) died unnecessarily in a large engine room fire on board HMAS Westralia – Their deaths arose by way of Accident.

RIP fellow mariners (15 years on the 5 May 2013)

MERT Worldwide extends best wishes to surviving family members – Kia Kaha (Stand Strong)

 

Canadian navy ship and fishing boat collide

Canadian navy ship is hit by fishing boat.  MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

The Australian Navy Ship Westralia – Had a major Engine Room fire on the 5 May 1998 resulting in the death of four crew. Westralia is a Navy Supply ship capable of underway replenishment. It was carrying 20,000 tonnes of fuel at the time of the fire.
The fire started in the Engine Room when flexible hoses (Fuel lines) failed.  One hose in particular provided fuel to a hot surface (Indicator Cock nearby). This hot surface ignited the fuel and was the source of the fire. The flexible hoses were installed to replace rigid/solid pipes, which had a history of leaking. The ‘Lessons learned’ from this are well documented and a simple Google search will provide a source document to read further.

The point MERT Worldwide makes in this post, is there are always lesson learned, it needs to be captured, then recommendation made, and any changes to processes implemented to stop this from happening again.  In the case of Westralia, the investigation reached 161 conclusions and made 114 recommendations – LESSON LEARNED from mistakes made.
What are the lesson learned in the case of the RENA, which ran aground of the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and the Costa Concordia, which ran aground and resulted in deaths?
Will we as mariners see a lessons learned investigation document?  I expect we will once legal action are completed. Lets hope that the circus that surrounds the legal outcomes of the Costa Concordia incident do not mask lesson learned.

Human error or a mistake normally results in a incident whether it is minor and only discussed at local level or it is a major disaster, which will be on every news headline. Those of us in the maritime industry need to see these reports so the industry complete can learn from these mistakes.  Adding, more technology to aid in navigation and reduce groundings has not and will not stop ships running aground we need to prevent mistakes and this starts by providing appropriate level of training.

The Westralia reports identifies that people were not adequately skilled.
People were in a position to prevent this tragedy if they had the necessary skill sets.

The Westralia report stated “On the 5 May 1998 four Royal Australian Navy personnel (crew members) died unnecessarily in a large engine room fire on board HMAS Westralia – Their deaths arose by way of Accident.

RIP fellow mariners (15 years on the 5 May 2013)

MERT Worldwide – Cruise Ship Fire

MERT Worldwide – Raging Fire Kills Two

MERT Worldwide – Ship groundings and sinking

The Costa Concordia report is an account of events leading up to the incident and subsequent actions of some personnel. I am not questioning its accuracy and I do not intend to speculate, but what it does is leave me asking more questions.

I would like to see a report that identifies ‘Lessons Learned’.  This will not happen until there is a verdict from the pending criminal court cases.  Pending criminal charges will also have an effect on the lessons learnt report being released. I will write on the Costa Concordia Report in more detail in my next post.

Since the Costa grounding there have been several more ship groundings and one as recent as March 2013. Fortunately, none resulting in loss of life or as dramatic as the Costa Concordia incident nevertheless they ran aground. The latest is a Shell vessel in Alaska (March 2013).

How do groundings occur? Are they the result of; poor weather, act of god, human error, fatigue or equipment malfunction. Whatever the reason many are preventable and the Costa Concordia was a preventable tragedy.

A Hallin Marine vessel ran aground in February 2013, they breached the hull and unfortunately, that ship sank many hours later after the grounding.

I was asked, “If I could have saved the ship”?

In this case and my answer was yes.  Without going into any detail of the actual damage and location of the damage, good Damage Control conducted by competent crew would have saved the ship. The crew’s action or limited action at the start of the incident resulted in their ship sinking. There initial actions were to put on their life jackets and muster at their life raft station this is a natural human response and expected as they fair for their lives.  However, it took the ship several hours before it finally gave in to the sea and sank to the seabed.

Closing watertight doors/hatches and limiting the spread of water ingress was key in this incident to saving the ship. Watertight control was not achieved and the spread of floodwater meant it was a matter of time before the ship would sink.

Another question asked of me was, “How do you change the actions of crew (Change the culture) to try to control damage and as a last resort abandon ship”?

The solution is training, coaching and empowering crew to have the confidence to try to reduce the flow of water to a rate that ship salvage pumps can handle as well as setting and maintaining flood boundaries.

Sadly, I find myself repeating a common theme with all the posts written and on display on MERT Worldwide website and that is the cure or the medicine required to help alleviate these real incidents. It comes down to providing quality training which is a combination of Performance Based, assessed training that utilises the following training techniques to empower crew to complete tasks safely:

MERT Worldwide – Costa Concordia Report

MERT Worldwide – Ship groundings and sinking

The Costa Concordia report is an account of events leading up to the incident and subsequent actions of some personnel. I am not questioning its accuracy and I do not intend to speculate, but what it does is leave me asking more questions.

I would like to see a report that identifies ‘Lessons Learned.  This will not happen until there is a verdict from the pending criminal court cases.  Pending criminal charges will also have an effect on the lessons learned report being released. I will write on the Costa Concordia Report in more detail in my next post.

Since the Costa grounding there have been several more ship groundings and one as recent as March 2013. Fortunately, none resulting in loss of life or as dramatic as the Costa Concordia incident nevertheless they ran aground. The latest is a Shell vessel in Alaska (March 2013).

How do groundings occur? Are they the result of; poor weather, act of god, human error, fatigue or equipment malfunction. Whatever the reason many are preventable and the Costa Concordia was a preventable tragedy.

A Hallin Marine vessel ran aground in February 2013, they breached the hull and unfortunately, that ship sank many hours later after the grounding.

I was asked, “If I could have saved the ship”? In this case and my answer was yes.

Without going into any detail of the actual damage and location of the damage, good Damage Control conducted by competent crew would have saved the ship. The crew’s action or limited action at the start of the incident resulted in their ship sinking. Instead the crews initial actions were to put on their life jackets and muster at their life raft station. This is a natural human response and expected as they fair for their lives.  However, it took the ship several hours before it finally gave in to the sea and sank to the seabed.

Closing watertight doors/hatches and limiting the spread of water ingress was key in this incident to saving the ship. Watertight control was not achieved and the spread of floodwater meant it was a matter of time before the ship would sink.

Another question asked of me was, “How do you change the actions of crew (Change the culture), to try and control damage, if that fails then as a last resort abandon ship”?

The solution is training, coaching and empowering crew to have the confidence to try to reduce the flow of water to a rate that ship salvage pumps can handle as well as setting and maintaining flood boundaries.

Sadly, I find myself repeating a common theme with all the posts written and on display on MERT Worldwide website, that is the cure or the medicine required to help alleviate these real incidents. It comes down to providing quality training which is a combination of Performance Based, assessed training that utilises the following training techniques to empower crew to complete tasks safely:

Coaching
Role Play
Simulation

To read more about MERT coaching techniques I encourage you to read the previous post “Two Ships Collide”.

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

 

MERT Worldwide – Two Ships Collide


MERT Worldwide – Coaching, Simulation, Role Play, Performance Based Training

2013 has seen several Maritime Accidents and some very serious incidents resulting in loss of life.  There are as many excuses why but, the purpose of the post is to provide training solutions to these preventable events.

Training – I like to refer to it as coaching because as a trainer we are developing skills or applying new skills to be competent at a certain task. Coaching is a good training tool. When used correctly it means empowering your crew to improve on their skill and strengths.  Good coaching gives crew members the confidence to complete tasks safely. Simulation and Role Play, combined with Coaching is a powerful training technique. These excellent coaching tools are used to practice individual and team skills and also a complete check of emergency management processes.

Performance Based training supported by coaching, role play and simulation is quality training that empowers all involved to improve their skill level.  This training also offers a ‘safety culture’ health check on board.  If crew members had the opportunity to complete this type of sea safety training on board every eighteen to twenty four months, would we see a reduction in reported Maritime Safety Events? The answer must be yes, the industry cannot continue without trying an innovative approach to improving training and the safety culture on board.

The video clip with this article is very current (March 2013).  It happens in one of the worlds busiest shipping lanes (Singapore). Its like driving a ship on a twelve lane highway.

There were however many rules that were broken BUT, how does such a incident happen in 2013?  Why did it happen?  Will ship owners, insurers, ship managers, masters tolerate such actions?  Will there be some form of accountability for crew members responsible for this incident?  If you had a vested interest in either ship, its cargo and crew (Shareholders and investors) wouldn’t you want answers too?  What about the potential hazard and risk to the environment?  There are so many questions that need to be answered but we also need to consider the possible risks of such actions.  Now how do we mitigate against such action ever happening again?

I like many people would have watched this video clip with amazement. The simple answer as to why it happened yet again is because the safety culture on board both vessels would be describe by myself as poor.  A crew member on either of the ships was in a position to stop this happening.  The solution or cure for a poor safety culture and one way to address this and many other incidents is provide quality training that supports a better safety culture than that being viewed in the video clip.

MERT Coaching, Simulation, Role Play combined with Performance Based Training provides seafarers with a quality maritime emergency response training package. All training is practically assessed, which offers MERT a tool to measure training quality against. This tool also offers owners, insurers, ship managers, masters and crew a snap shot of their crews ability to safely manage and react to a ship emergency. At the same time MERT training provides a ‘Health Check’ of the ships ‘Safety Culture’ and if necessary administers the medicine necessary to keep the safety culture healthy.

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Aviation

 

MERT Worldwide – Aviation

The video clip in this article is a very good example of the extremes of maritime aviation.

Eden Defence was contracted by the NZ Navy to conduct similar trials as those in the video to establish a set of Ship Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOLs) for their Off-Shore Patrol Vessel. I was the Flight deck Officer on board for those trials earlier this year. I gained valuable experience relating to maritime aviation and operating at the extreme limits.

The biggest difference between the video clip and our trials was the helicopter in the video clip launched from an airfield and then eventually landed on board the ship. However, we had to move the helicopter out on to the deck from the hangar on the ship. This task is made even more dangerous in rough seas. During these trials (Day and Night) we had winds in excess of 50 knots, that doesn’t take into account the speed of the ship through the water and large swells. The conditions were very tough for all concerned (Aircrew, Flight Deck Team, Bridge staff).

Aviation at sea is a high risk activity, but there may be a requirement to evacuate a casualty in rough seas. This is a realistic scenario and the ship first needs to prepare for the arrival of a Rescue Helicopter. Good/sound preparation will ensure the serial is conducted safely. Being best prepared mitigates many of the perceived dangers involved with operating helicopters at sea in extreme conditions.

MERT can deliver aviation training, there is no need for a helicopter, MERT will utilise role play and simulation training techniques instead.

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

Prism Defence – Aviation Professionals

MERT Worldwide – Hydrogen Sulphide H2S Hazards

MERT Worldwide – Toxic Gas Hazards On Ships

The purpose of this post is to highlight the Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) dangers present on-board. H2S is the chemical symbol for Hydrogen Sulphide, its heavier than air, it is an explosive gas and if large concentrations are inhaled or come into contact with the skin it can be fatal. In smaller concentrations over a longer period of time it may also be fatal. H2S smells like rotten eggs, you will lose all sense of smell very quickly therefore it is important to get to a clean air area immediately after smelling rotten eggs. If any members of the crew have come in contact with H2S then they need to decontaminate if exposed to 50 PPM or more by removing contaminated clothing and wash any concentrations off their skin. H2S casualty or patient must be on oxygen as soon as they are in a clean air area then seek medical care.

H2S hazards are present in bilges, especially if the bilge is not kept clean. The sewage treatment plant is another high risk area. H2S may be present in confined spaces (voids and fuel tanks). Any pipe-work that has had AFFF – Aqueous Film Foaming Foam pass through it and not been flushed with fresh water will with time build up concentrations of H2S as well. The oily water treatment plant is another high risk H2S zone.

H2S dangers and hazards can be mitigated by installing H2S detectors and early warning devices. Crew awareness and training, supported by a robust toxic gas standard operating procedure further mitigates the risk to crew. All crew -members need to be aware of the dangers of H2S and the high risk areas on-board.  They must be able to recognise H2S alarms and immediately escape.

The Royal Australia Navy – Had several cases of H2S poisoning when their ships first had Sewage Treatment Plants installed. The problem they had at that time was there were no H2S detection equipment fitted in high risk areas and the first time the crew realised something was wrong was when crew-members became ill.

In the early 1990’s – Contractors working in underground pipes in Auckland, New Zealand died from H2S poisoning.

News Paper Article November 2012 – “Two people are in a critical condition and 19 others have been injured after breathing in hydrogen sulphide following a chemical spill at a tanning warehouse in Whanganui, NZ. Emergency services were called to Tasman Tanning Company just before 5pm on Friday following a chemical spill. A Whanganui District Health Boards spokeswoman Sue Campion told NZ Newswire on Friday evening that two people are in a critical condition and are being flown to Wellington Hospital after breathing in hydrogen sulphide. Hydrogen sulphide – a colourless, poisonous and flammable gas – can damage lungs and affect breathing”.

Health Effects of Hydrogen Sulfide

H2S is classed as a chemical asphyxiant, similar to carbon monoxide and cyanide gases. It inhibits cellular respiration and uptake of oxygen, causing biochemical suffocation. Typical exposure symptoms include:

L
O
W

0 – 10 ppm Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat

M
O
D

10 – 50 ppm Headache
Dizziness
Nausea and vomiting
Coughing and breathing difficulty

H
I
G
H

50 – 200 ppm Severe respiratory tract irritation
Eye irritation / acute conjunctivitis
Shock
Convulsions
Coma
Death in severe cases

Prolonged exposures at lower levels can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, migraine headaches, pulmonary edema, and loss of motor coordination.

MERT Worldwide – Keeping sailors safe by providing specialist on-board safety (SOS) training.

MERT Worldwide – Maritime Emergency Response Training

Maritime New Zealand

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