Marine Sewage Water: The Legislation

The pathogenic organisms, viruses and bacteria present in sewage can cause numerous diseases and infections in humans – not just from direct contact but indirectly from eating the fish that filtrate seawater and retain dangerous particles.

Marine sewage water can also have a devastating effect on sea life as sewage uses up valuable oxygen in the water as it disintegrates. This results in the suffocation of fish, coral, seaweed and other micro-organisms that are essential to the eco-system, particularly in shallow seas and coastal areas.

The problem has long been recognised and reducing marine pollution from sewage was the first ever environmental initiative. Regulations initially came into force over a hundred years ago and since then they have been constantly updated and amended to reflect the changing face of modern shipping.

MARPOL Annex IV

MARPOL Annex IV applies to ships on international voyages which are over 400 gross tonnage, or those that are less and certified to carry 15 passengers and crew. It contains detailed regulations about the onboard equipment needed to control sewage discharge, the reception facilities that must be provided at ports and terminals, and the requirements for survey and certification.

If your vessel is equipped with an approved sewage treatment plant, an approved sewage comminuting and disinfecting system, or a sewage holding tank then you can discharge sewage at a distance of three nautical miles from the nearest land. However, the speed and rate of discharge must still be approved to meet the requirements set out in MEPC.157(55).

In addition to this, there are also designated ‘Special Areas’ (detailed in MEPC.200(62)) that may require further tests depending on the type of your vessel.

ISPCC

Vessels visiting countries that have ratified to MARPOL Annex IV need a relevant ISPCC – an International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate. This is issued after a successful inspection and is valid for five years. If you don’t have an ISPCC or your sewage treatment facilities fail the inspection, your ship could end up facing detention.

What you need to do

You have to make sure that your sewage treatment plant is installed in a way that enables effluent test samples to be collected. This sampling should be carried out in accordance with the regulations.

A minimum of forty samples should be collected to allow for statistical analysis of the data. The frequency of testing should take into account the length of time the effluent is sitting in the treatment plant and the test period should take a minimum of 10 days so that the discharge can enter a stabilisation period. The samples should also reflect normal conditions – the type of system, the number of people on-board and the operational processes involved.

Simple Solution

Pollution from marine sewage water has always been in the spotlight so new regulations are continually being introduced to try and control it. The legislation that applies to you will depend on factors such as your vessel size and type, where you’re operating and when your sewage treatment equipment was installed.

The amount of legislation can be overwhelming so our new Sewage Water Test Kit offers an easy way to make sure you’re always compliant. We’ve also created a free ebook to help clarify the key elements that you need to know.

Your ebook will cover:

  • Terminology & Definitions
  • Why Test Sewage Effluents
  • Effluent Testing Legislation
  • Quick Guide To The Required Testing
  • Sewage Effluent Test Kits
  • The Martek Sewage Effluent Test Kit

[Download]

The procedures are quick and simple to perform and don’t use complicated equipment so they’re suitable for everyone to use. The tests are based on those recommended by the Department of the Environment and the Water Research Centre and provide you with only the most vital components that will allow you to carry out essential quality control checks.

This will save time and money and increase your productivity – if you carry out regular tests of your vessel’s sewage, you can identify issues much earlier and correct them with the minimum of difficulty. This is much more efficient than waiting until a problem develops as repairing faults or being detained will have a major impact on your operations.

Making sure you meet regulations for effluent testing needn’t be complicated or expensive.

For guaranteed compliance, contact us today

 

Why your hatch testing needs to be accurate

Over 40% of all P&I claims are due to damaged cargo. Water ingress from hatch covers makes up the majority of these claims – even small amounts of water can cause extensive damage.

Every year, the North of England P&I club has three to four claims of between $500,000 and $1,000,000 for water-damaged cargoes resulting from hatch cover defects. Tony Baker, head of the club’s risk management department said: ‘The cost of preventing these losses can usually be measured in a few thousand dollars or less. Often all that is necessary is the replacement of some defective rubber seals, some minor repairs to steelwork or sometimes just cleaning down a coaming.’

Hatch covers are the responsibility of the ship’s owners and operators, so you need to pay close attention to them to make sure that your cargo is protected. Regular checking and maintenance is much cheaper and more effective than major repairs or incidents caused by neglect.

Testing Methods

Water hose testing and chalk testing are the two most common methods for checking hatch covers. While water hose testing can detect a leak, it can’t accurately pinpoint exactly where the problem’s coming from – and it won’t work in sub-zero conditions either. There’s also the added complication of making sure any cargo contained in the hold is adequately protected from the water used in the test.

Chalk testing doesn’t have some of these limitations but it isn’t considered to be a leak detection test as it only gives an indication of poor compression and possible leaks. It’s not effective in identifying weathertight integrity so it might not be acceptable to many external surveyors.

Ultrasonic Testing

This is the most accurate way to ensure your hatches are functioning correctly. A transmitter in the cargo hold emits ultrasound waves which are then picked up by a receiver outside the closed hatch. Unlike water hose and chalk tests, ultrasonic testing indicates when you have the required compression and gives you the precise location of any leakages. In addition to this, the equipment is easy to store and use, only needs one operator and doesn’t rely on the cargo hold being emptied.

However, just like any piece of technical equipment, there are some extra factors that need to be considered to ensure that your ultrasonic testing device is operating effectively.

Calibration

Ship operators and P&I clubs need to be sure that the equipment used for testing is behaving consistently every time, so readings taken by devices that are not calibrated are open to being rendered invalid. This could jeopardise potential insurance claims as, in a court of law, any results from equipment not shown to be in calibration could be disputed and disallowed.

Calibrating Hatchtite

Hatchtites are made to a very exacting standard so that their performance will not deteriorate quickly over time. Each device will give exactly the same correct and consistent readings, regardless of the specific device that’s being used. This is particularly important when comparing results that have been logged over a long period.

If properly cared for, a Hatchtite will also last for five years before they require re-calibration – the longest time period for an ultrasonic hatch testing device in the industry. After five years, it should be returned to make sure that:

– All components are clean and working in good order

– Any components that are approaching the end of their lives can be replaced or repaired

– The transmitter and receiver are tested to make sure the decibel readings are accurate

– Any relevant updates are implemented.

HATCHTITE Calibration

Calibrating your Hatchtite will ensure that you’ll always be able to test your hatches efficiently and reduce the risk of losing your cargo.

Contact us to find out more.

A Quick Guide to Sewage Effluent Testing

Sewage Effluent Testing

Sewage pollution from shipping has always been in the spotlight. Without comprehensive checks on Sewage Effluent, it can have catastrophic effects on the environment and the wellbeing of both human and aquatic life. To combat this, Sewage Effluent regulations have been in effect for over a hundred years and they will continue to get more and more stringent in the future as public awareness grows.

However, some of the terminology and procedures involved with sewage effluent testing can seem impenetrable to anyone not familiar with the inside of a laboratory. To help with this we’ve put together a quick guide to help with the key elements that you need to know.

We’ve also compiled an ebook, ‘A Guide To Marine Sewage Effluent Testing’ which explores the topic, regulations and solutions in more detail. If you would like to claim a free copy please fill in this form

PV

The Permanganate Value (PV) helps to determine the oxygen requirement of sewage and sewage effluent before it’s discharged. The waste can then be classified to make sure it’s within the necessary limits.

The PV test is designed to show the oxidation of organic material that occurs in natural waters by using potassium permanganate under acidic conditions to accelerate the process. The measurement is usually represented as the quantity of oxygen consumed per litre of water: mg/L O2 or ppm O2.

COD, BOD and TOC

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) measures the amount of dissolved oxygen needed to break down the organic material in a water sample.

The Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is similar – both measure the presence of compounds – but the BOD value is more detailed as it provides a value for the oxygen needed specifically by bacteria. The higher the BOD value, the larger the amount of food available for oxygen-consuming organisms.

TOC stands for Total Organic Carbon and measures the amount of decaying matter in water. It has been used to analyse water quality and sewage effluent since the early 1970s.

You can estimate a sample’s COD, BOD and TOC values by converting the results of the PV test. Although the results are not definitive, it’s a simplified and low-cost way of carrying out the most essential quality control checks.

pH

Chemical and biological reactions in sewage greatly depend on the amount of acid or alkaline present – the pH. Therefore, regular checks on the pH in your sewage effluent are essential.

These tests are carried out with a Universal test tablet and a printed colour strip that covers a pH range between four and ten. The expected level for your sewage effluents should fall between six and eight.

Free, Combined and Total Chlorine

Chlorine is useful for disinfection as it kills bacteria and viruses – it’s been used in water treatment since the early 1900s. However, it can have a harmful effect on the environment and marine life when released in wastewater.

Free Chlorine is residual chlorine contained in water either as dissolved gas, acid or ions. Combined Chlorine is the concentration of chlorine that has already gone through a chemical reaction – usually with ammonia or organic materials. The Total Chlorine is made up of both of these measurements together.

Bacteria Plate Test
As bacteria aren’t generally visible to the naked eye, a plate test is a way to estimate how many are present in a water sample.

It uses a plate containing a nutrient which allows bacteria to colonise and grow. These will show as a red colour which can then be counted. By using a specific measured amount as a sample, you can then scale up the results to infer the overall content of the effluent.

E.Coli

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a type of bacteria found in the stomachs of humans and other warm-blooded animals. There are many different strains – most of which are harmless – but some can cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever and vomiting. It can also be fatal for people with weakened immune systems. Checking for E.Coli in sewage effluent is therefore vital.

Testing works in a similar way to the bacterial plate. You take a sample, add specially designed chemicals and then wait for the results which will be either positive or negative. If they’re positive, you should super-chlorinate your water supply and seek further guidance.

Turbidity and Suspended Solids

The turbidity of liquid means how clear it is. Individual particles of suspended solids will cause water to lose its transparency and become murky in a similar way to smoke in the air.

The suspended solids may not be visible to the naked eye so testing the turbidity will give a measure of their content. The test will also keep you informed about the day to day variations in the quality of your wastewater and sewage effluent.

The Royal Commission Standards for Effluents recommend that the suspended solids content of sewage effluent should not be more than 30 mg/l.

Temperature

Sewage Effluent discharge should always be as close as possible to ambient temperatures as some biological processes are dependent on heat. Chemical reactions – as well as marine life – are very sensitive to even minor variations in temperature.

Checking the temperature of your wastewater is particularly important when it comes to industrial processes as well as the use of hot water in showers, dishwashers, washing machines and other regular domestic appliances.

Sewage Test Kit

If you carry out regular tests of your vessel’s sewage, you can identify issues much earlier and correct them with the minimum of difficulty. This is much more efficient than waiting until a problem develops as repairing faults could have a major impact on your operations.

The equipment in our onboard Sewage Effluent Kit makes sure you meet the regulations in the most simple and effective way possible – the tests are based on those recommended by the Department of the Environment and the Water Research Centre.

The kit provides you with only the most vital components that will allow you to carry out essential quality control checks, saving you time and money and increasing your productivity. The procedures are quick and easy to perform and don’t use complicated equipment so they’re suitable for everyone to use.

Testing your sewage effluent needn’t be complicated or expensive. Martek’s Sewage Effluent Kit makes it easy.

Contact us to find out more.

 

Confined Space Entry: U.S. Coast Guard Warns After Three Die Of Asphyxiation

The danger of confined spaces is in the news again after three crew members died of asphyxiation on a drilling rig.

They were part of a ten man team preparing equipment for heavy lift transport. After a de-ballasting system failed, they rigged a portable diesel engine pump to discharge tanks. Unfortunately, the hatches used for ventilation were inadequate and one of the crew collapsed after being overcome by fumes while supervising the operation.

The second and third victims died while attempting to rescue him after descending into the enclosed space without safety equipment. The Captain and Ship Superintendent narrowly escaped and were airlifted to hospital.

This is sadly typical of enclosed space fatalities and is similar to other recent accidents in Japan, UK, Denmark, Belgium and Malaysia.

Because many toxic gases are colourless and odourless, it can be easy to miss the danger signals, especially if you’re under stress or focused on a complicated task. Rescuers are commonly the next victims as they react quickly – and usually in a state of panic – so they don’t follow essential safety procedures or use the necessary equipment. Studies suggest that over 50% of the deaths in confined spaces are the result of crew members attempting to rescue colleagues.

This latest incident has prompted the US Coast Guard to issue a Marine Safety Alert about the dangers of confined spaces. They advise:

  • Obtaining the requisite level of knowledge and training of confined space entry procedures including emergency and rescue procedures
  • Ensuring crews undergo periodic confined space training and participate in routine and practical onboard emergency drills
  • Verifying that all required confined space entry and rescue safety equipment is onboard, maintained, tested and fully functional
  • Continually appreciating the dangers involved in confined space entry and educating yourself by further study.

Modern vessels contain more enclosed spaces than ever before. This, combined with the pressures of larger loads, smaller crews and tighter turnaround times, means that deaths in confined spaces are still happening despite the IMO’s attempts to prevent them. The latest regulations require all SOLAS applicable vessels to carry portable gas detectors for monitoring enclosed spaces:

“Every ship to which Chapter 1 applies shall carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments. As a minimum, these shall be capable to measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide. Instruments carried under other requirements may satisfy this regulation. Suitable means shall be provided for the calibration of all such instruments.”

Effective gas detectors and calibration instruments are essential on all cargo vessels. This equipment should also be as versatile and easy to use as possible so that all crew members are protected.

Contact us to find out more about keeping your crews safe in confined spaces.

10 reasons why you should be testing your sewage water

Marine pollution from sewage has always been one of the world’s most prominent ecological problems – in fact, reducing it was the first ever environmental initiative. New technology and regulations have been developing for over a century and will continue to do so in the future.

Here are ten reasons why testing sewage on your vessels is so important and how the new Sewage Effluent Testing Kit from Martek can help.

1.) Sewage water testing helps avoid health hazards

The pathogenic organisms, viruses and bacteria present in sewage can cause salmonella and hepatitis A and E as well as numerous gastrointestinal diseases and infections. Indirect contact is also harmful as many marine creatures filtrate seawater, retaining the dangerous particles which may then be passed on to those who eat them.

2.) Sewage water testing helps limit marine pollution

As well as the deeply unpleasant visual impact, sewage is also extremely damaging to sea-life – particularly in shallow seas and coastal areas. Because it uses up valuable oxygen in the water as it disintegrates, it can result in the suffocation of fish, coral, seaweed and micro-organisms essential to the eco-system

3.) Sewage effluent testing reduces downtime

If you carry out regular tests of your vessel’s sewage, you can identify issues much earlier and correct them with the minimum of difficulty. This is much more efficient than waiting until a problem develops as this may result in your system being out of action while it’s repaired.

4.) Sewage effluent testing reduces costs

Downtime means your vessel isn’t operating at maximum profitability. Repairing faults with your sewage system could have a major impact on your operations, something that can be easily avoided with regular testing.

5.) Sewage water testing ensures you’re compliant

More and more attention is being paid to sewage and its effects. This has resulted in more stringent quality standards and regulations – and these are likely to get even more comprehensive soon. A good sewage testing kit will keep you compliant with current legislation as well as helping to make sure you’re prepared for future changes.

6.) Testing your sewage is easy

The Sewage Effluent Kit from Martek provides a means of checking quality by using simplified methods of testing. To reduce wastage and keep your costs at a minimum, the kit contains only the most vital components that will allow you to carry out essential quality control checks.

7.) It’s quick to carry out a sewage water test

The kit provides simple tests for Permanganate Value, Ph, Suspended Solids, Probable BOC (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and TOC (Total Organic Carbon). The tests provide measurements rapidly to keep your time and your costs down.

8.) Our Sewage Effluent Kit adds on to your existing Martek equipment

If you’re already using DrinkSafe for your potable water, the sewage testing kit fits alongside it for a complete water testing solution – the first and only combined package on the market.

9.) It’s familiar to existing Martek customers

There’s no formal training required for water analysis and, because your crew already know how DrinkSafe works, the procedure for testing sewage will be quick and easy for them to pick up. The tests are simple to perform and don’t use complicated equipment so they’re suitable for everyone to use.

10.) It’s from a supplier you can trust

Martek Marine is renowned for its expertise in ship safety and crew welfare and has a reputation that’s recognised across the globe. The world’s major ship operators trust our products to keep their ships and crew safe and improve their performance.

Martek’s Sewage Effluent Kit is the best on the market for value and quality. It will save you time and money and increase productivity.

Contact us to find out more.

The Problem with Portable Gas Detectors

Making sure your crew and your vessel are always safe from harmful gases is vital, so a portable gas detector is an important piece of equipment. However, there are many issues with the instruments that can cost you time and money if you don’t have the right kit.

Here are some of the problems – and the solutions offered by the MGC Simple+.

Battery life and charging


Traditional portable gas detectors have a pellistor/catalytic bead LEL sensor which uses a heated aluminium coil. It’s this element, in particular, that’s responsible for draining large amounts of power. Instead of the pellistor sensor, The MGC Simple+ uses a low-powered infrared light source which greatly reduces the drain on the battery – it’s like switching an incandescent light bulb for an energy efficient LED bulb.

The power saving is enough for the MGC Simple+ to last 3 years without charging. It works straight from the box and will easily allow for a bump test and a 1.5-minute alarm every day of its life.

Calibrating
Calibration and bump testing are crucial in traditional detectors because, over time, their performance becomes slower and gradually more unresponsive. This is down to the pellistor sensor which is susceptible to poisoning by many things, including the gases they are actually detecting. Once the sensor is no longer efficient, it needs to be replaced – a costly process which will leave your instrument out of action. You will also need extra equipment to cover gas detection while this work is being carried out.

Infrared sensors are completely immune to poisoning so this isn’t an issue with the Marine MGC Simple+ – there’s no need to calibrate at all.

However, some risk assessments and safe systems of work do specify that instruments must be calibrated. The MGC Simple+ can be set up to do this easily using one button operated dock which is capable of testing four detectors at the same time. This takes around 40 seconds and uses only around a quarter of the gas you need for individual calibration.

Working in inert environments

Pellistor sensors need a minimum of 10% oxygen in the environment – any lower and the readings may be inaccurate. Infrared doesn’t need oxygen, so the MGC Simple+ will work in completely inert atmospheres. This makes it ideal for confined space detection and taking samples from tanks where lack of oxygen is an issue.

Data Logging

Traditional portable gas detectors will log events, but many won’t log data. Data logging is important for all instruments as the gathering of information helps to improve safety and inform the investigation of incidents. The MGC Simple+ logs data every second and records the last 25 bumps, calibrations and events.

Repair Costs


As instruments get older, they begin to develop faults with their components – backlights, screens, sounders etc – they will all have to be repaired eventually. By the time a detector gets to three years old, most of the sensors will be reaching the end of their life and will need replacing.

The MGC Simple+ comes with a full three-year warranty, so you’ll never incur extra repair costs. At the end of those three years, you simply replace the whole instrument – a cheaper option than spending money maintaining an old detector. Buying a new instrument means you’ll also have a new three-year warranty so the instrument will always be covered.

The MGC Simple+ is the world’s first ‘NO calibration’ portable multi-gas detector.

NO calibration. NO charging. NO cost.

Contact us to find out more.

Are You Throwing Money Overboard?

There’s a worrying number of reports where used cylinders are thrown overboard

There’s an increasing awareness of pollution in our oceans. The world is waking up to just how much waste is dumped in our seas – not only from plastic but from a variety of other sources too, including gas cylinders.

Recently, there have been many reports of merchant ships simply throwing used cylinders overboard to save the cost of proper disposal. As well as the obvious environmental impact of this, it’s also missing out on a potentially lucrative source of money.

The problem

To make sure your gas detection devices are operating correctly, and your vessel is safe, you’ll need a good supply of calibration gas. If you order in bulk, this means that you’ll undoubtedly have a large supply of cylinders on board. These cylinders are classified as dangerous goods so they need careful handling and storage – even when they’re empty, they may still be considered hazardous by many organisations and flag states.

This makes disposal a problem. The process can often be costly and time-consuming and the inevitable result is that many companies send them to landfill or, if they’re particularly irresponsible, toss them overboard.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Recycling

Calibration gas cylinders are made from aluminium or steel, both of which are valuable materials to recycling companies or scrap metal agents. As well as benefiting the environment and cutting down on waste, selling on empty cylinders will also provide you with some additional income – empty cylinders are likely to be worth around $2 each.

However, because they’re classified as hazardous, recycling companies won’t simply accept cylinders as they are, they need preparing first.

Checks

Firstly, it’s important to make sure that your calibration gas container can be recycled. Many gas supply companies specify that they can’t so always make sure by reading the manufacturer’s label or contacting them directly.

You also need to check the regulations. Legislation regarding disposal and recycling differs from country to country – as well as organisation to organisation – so be clear about exactly which guidelines you need to follow.

Preparing the cylinder

The most important part of preparing your cylinders for recycling is to make sure that they’re completely empty. If it was used to store a toxic or combustible gas there may still be traces of the material inside so most recycling companies will require you to drill a hole in it and write ‘empty’ or ‘punctured’ on it using permanent marker – some will even specify that you cut them in half.

The valve must also be removed or made unusable to make sure that the cylinder is no longer pressurised. After this, cylinders are no longer classified as dangerous goods and can be recycled as scrap.

However, it’s this part of the procedure that’s usually the trickiest. Making the valve inoperable will probably involve a vice, some elbow grease, and a specially made tool that’s compatible with the container you’re preparing. Getting the right kind of specially made tool can make all the difference to the time and effort you spend.

Our Solution

All FastCalGas cylinders are suitable for recycling. We also have tools that are simple to use and render the valves unusable quickly and easily. They’re available for all our canisters – 34L Aluminium and 58L Aluminium as well as 103L Steel and 34L Steel.

It’s a straightforward process that helps take the stress out of the disposal. It also enables you to recover costs by scrapping your used calibration gas cylinders instead of throwing them away.

Save the planet and save money.

Recycle your used gas cylinders.

Can I Be Held Liable For Using An AED?

Rapid defibrillation is the only proven way to treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest and it can mean the difference between life and death.

A quick response is vital – if a victim is shocked within sixty seconds, their chance of survival can be as high as 90% but after this, it drops by 10% every minute.

But using an AED for the first time can be daunting. As well as the panic of what to do in an emergency situation, you might also have some doubts about where you stand from a legal perspective.

These concerns may cause you to hesitate and lose valuable time. Here we address some common questions and look at where you stand when it comes to the law in the UK.

What injuries can occur?

If you use a reliable, well maintained AED, it’s highly unlikely that it will make a mistake. The unit will analyse and assess the victim’s heart rhythm and make all the decisions, guiding you through the process step by step. It’s impossible to shock someone who isn’t having a cardiac arrest.

It’s more likely that injuries will occur when administering CPR as this can sometimes result in broken ribs, especially with older people. You might also worsen injuries when you move them into the safe airway position.

However, these potential problems are the lesser of two evils when compared to what will happen if you don’t follow the chain of survival for treating a sudden cardiac arrest.

While you’re waiting for an AED, you need to make sure that oxygen can still reach the brain – a few broken ribs are a small price to pay for survival.

Can I be sued if I use an AED?

To support companies who provide AEDs, there’s plenty of legal protection from civil liability.

To date, there have been no known judgments against anyone who has used an AED to save someone’s life – you’re covered by ‘Good Samaritan’ laws that protect users who attempt to save a person from death. You just need to show that you were acting in the best interest of the casualty.

However, if a civil case is brought against you for negligence, the court will judge your actions against those of: ‘a reasonable person of the same standing’.

‘Reasonable person’ means that they will take into account your circumstances, you won’t be assessed against the textbook procedure. Someone with no first aid training is bound to make mistakes – even those with training are likely to make errors when under pressure.

Your training may only have covered the basics or you may have forgotten things if it was a long time ago – these factors are all taken into account under the term: ‘reasonable person’.

The ‘same standing’ part means that you’ll be treated at a level appropriate to the amount of training you’ve had, you won’t be compared to a medical professional.

If you’ve never used an AED before and you have no first aid training whatsoever, your actions will be judged against what might be expected of someone in a similar position.

As well as these procedures, there’s also the SARAH Act that has been applied to cases since 2015.

What is the SARAH Act?

The Social Action, Heroism and Responsibility Act. It means that a judge must also consider whether you were trying to save the victim, whether your approach to safety was responsible and if you were behaving heroically by trying to save someone in danger.

There are already legal mechanisms in place that cover most of these areas but the SARAH Act is an additional safety net. It doesn’t prevent you from being found negligent or criminally liable but it should provide some extra peace of mind for anyone trying to do their best in a difficult emergency situation.

What are my responsibilities as a business?

In many industries, it’s a legal requirement to have a qualified first aider on hand. It’s their responsibility to provide a duty of care and provide assistance in the case of an emergency.

Many organisations such as sports clubs also assume a duty of care when conducting their activities so it’s up to them to provide treatment in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.

If you have an AED at your place of work, you also need to follow the legal requirements for its upkeep. This will involve appropriate documentation and the maintenance of the device as recommended by the manufacturer. Failure to keep your AED in a usable condition could result in a claim against you.

Getting the right AED

Your defibrillator could be sitting around gathering dust for a while but it needs to be rescue ready in an instant when you need it the most. Depending on where it’s placed, it may face very challenging conditions. If it’s on board ship, for example, it will need to be capable of surviving in the most hostile of environments.

Lifeforce is designed specifically for life at sea and is the first AED on the market to be GL Type Approved for the marine industry.

It’s rated IPX4 for water protection, IP5X for dust protection and has been jet and helicopter tested, coming up to US Military standards for shock and vibration.

The handle and sides are rubberised to prevent impact damage and there are no unnecessary frills to complicate things in an emergency. It’s lightweight, portable and low maintenance with a battery life of up to seven years.

It automatically carries out its own diagnostic tests without the need for additional servicing and we also support its performance and reliability with a full eight-year marine specific warranty.

For peace of mind, make sure you have an AED you know you can rely on.

Are You Prepared For The 2020 Cap on Sulphur Emissions?

Sulphur emissions are one of the major components of air pollution.

They cause respiratory diseases, contribute to acid rain and form aerosol gases. Because of the high content of sulphur compounds in marine fuels, the maritime industry has always been a huge part of the problem.

The IMO has been working to reduce the environmental impact of shipping since as far back as the 1960s and their latest initiative is to introduce a cap on sulphur emissions that will come into force on 1st January 2020.

The New 2020 Regulation

Regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex will set a limit of 0.50% m/m on the sulphur content of fuel oil used by ships – a dramatic reduction from the current 3.50% limit.

The sulphur content of oil is lowered by refining, but the maritime industry has traditionally used mostly low-grade fuel oils like heavy oil and diesel oil, both of which have a high sulphur content. Therefore, the main aim of the new regulation is to ensure that marine engines use a low-sulphur oil or a better grade of fuel such as marine gas oil.

Enforcement

Ships must be issued with an International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) Certificate by their flag state which states that they use a fuel oil that’s compliant with the new regulation. When they take on fuel, they must also obtain a bunker delivery note that details the oil’s sulphur content. Samples may be taken to verify this, and port and coastal states can use surveillance, assess smoke plumes and apply many other techniques to catch out vessels that attempt to evade the 0.50% m/m limit.

Vessels that fail to comply can be fined and may even be declared unseaworthy, stopping them from sailing.

Impact on shipping

Approximately 90% of world trade is by sea and global shipping currently consumes around four million barrels of high sulphur fuel oil per day. It’s estimated that fuel accounts for about half of a ship’s daily operating cost so the new regulation will have a huge impact on the industry.

Based on average consumption of 20 to 80 tonnes of fuel a day, a vessel using cleaner fuel can expect to face extra daily expenses of about $6,000 to $20,000. Overall, global shipping costs are expected to rise by at least a quarter and analysts say that the maritime industry is not prepared for the change.

How to comply

There are three main ways of making sure your vessels meet the standards required by the new regulation. However, all of them come with added costs and challenges.

Use compliant fuels
This is the most straightforward solution – ships can simply switch to a low sulphur fuel without the need to fit expensive new equipment. These low sulphur fuels have an extended refining process which removes a much larger amount of the sulphur content. However, the process means that fuel can cost up to 50% more and there are concerns that refiners may struggle to meet demand when the new regulations take effect.

Install exhaust gas cleaning systems
Known as ‘scrubbers’, these clean the ship’s emissions before they’re released into the atmosphere, stripping out the sulphur content. They enable vessels to continue using lower grade fuel while still meeting the IMO’s new regulation.

Many vessels are already using scrubbers and, by 2020, around 20,000 ships are expected to be equipped. However, fitting them takes time and there are only a limited number of manufacturers and installers – only around 500 vessels per year can be equipped. With a global fleet of over 90,000 vessels, this means that fitting every ship with scrubbers would take over 100 years.

The installation of adequate scrubbing equipment is also expensive, costing between $1-$10million per vessel. Additionally, if the equipment should break down while the vessel is at sea, operators would be faced with even more costs as well as significant operational difficulties.

Use clean gas LNG as fuel
This is a considerably greener alternative to oil and is seen as much more viable in the long term because it reduces sulphur emissions by up to 95%. As with scrubbers, this option does involve a large investment when it comes to installation as converting existing ships to run on LNG requires them to be re-engined. The fuel store and insulation equipment also take up a large amount of valuable space on board and currently, few ports have the necessary infrastructure to supply vessels.

Despite this, an increasing number of ships are beginning to use LNG in preparation for the new IMO regulation. Methanol is also being used as a fuel source on some short sea services.

What steps are you taking to prepare for the cap on sulphur emissions?

This is a very difficult transitional period for the maritime industry – you need to make sure you’re ready for 1st January 2020.

Contact us to find out how we can help.

How to Recycle Your Gas Cylinders

In order to meet legal and industry requirements, and ensure safety in the workplace, it’s critical to that your gas-detection devices are functioning correctly. These gas detectors serve a vital role by monitoring environmental conditions and alerting us to potential leaks or hazardous conditions. Conducting frequent calibration tests means that you’ll be going through a lot of span gas—it also means you’ll be left with a lot of empty gas cylinders.

Continue reading “How to Recycle Your Gas Cylinders”