Effective gas detection is one of the most important safety concerns in the shipping industry. A third of all dangerous incidents that happen offshore are gas related.
Fatalities among seafarers are still occurring despite attempts by regulatory bodies to prevent them.
SOLAS Regulation XI/1-7 states that:
‘Every ship to which Chapter 1 applies shall carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments.
As a minimum, these shall be capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide.’
It’s these gases that a 4 gas detector is designed to monitor. They represent the biggest threat to crew members on vessels at sea or in port.
As well as being necessary to breathe, oxygen also supports combustion. So, monitoring its presence is vital in hazardous working environments on board ship.
Flammable gases (LEL)
LEL is short for ‘Lower Explosive Limit’.
LEL is the lowest concentration of a gas or vapour capable of producing fire in the presence of an ignition.
Concentrations lower than the LEL are too lean to burn, those above, too rich. The LEL is displayed as a percentage with 0% showing a combustible gas-free atmosphere and 100% when a gas is at its lower flammable limit.
The percentages will differ from gas to gas.
Methane, for example, is too lean to burn between 0% and 5% but is highly flammable between 5% and 17%. Over 17% and the atmosphere is too rich for methane to ignite.
Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S)
Known as ‘sewer gas’ or ‘swamp gas’, Hydrogen Sulphide is colourless and highly flammable.
It’s produced by industrial processes and/or decaying organic matter and has a characteristic odour of rotten eggs.
However, this may not be detected until it’s too late as exposure to the gas affects your sense of smell.
It’s heavier than air, so hydrogen sulphide accumulates in enclosed and poorly ventilated areas.
Inhalation produces extremely rapid unconsciousness and death.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
CO is produced whenever a fossil fuel is burned and collects in poorly ventilated areas. CO displaces oxygen in the blood, depriving vital organs of oxygen causing victims to lose consciousness and suffocate.
Because it’s odourless and colourless and can overcome you in minutes, it kills thousands of people every year.
Fixed gas detectors
Fixed gas detection systems are a requirement for some vessels but are recommended for a much wider range of ships. These can be placed in vulnerable locations to monitor gases at all times, issuing alerts at the first sign of potential danger.
However, one gas detection system doesn’t necessarily suit all vessels. You have to make sure that you have the correct equipment for your vessel’s particular needs.
SOLAS guidance states:
‘It should be noted that, given a ship’s specific characteristics and operations, additional atmospheric hazards in enclosed spaces may be present that may not be detected by the instrument recommended to be selected by these Guidelines, and in such cases, if known, additional appropriate instruments should be carried.’
That’s why at Martek, we have a team of expert engineers. They build our fixed detection systems in-house so that we can ensure that the equipment is tailored to your specific requirements.
Our MM2000 system tests for toxic and flammable gases in a wide variety of situations and is guaranteed to be SOLAS and ISGOTT compliant.
Portable gas detectors
Worn by seafarers entering spaces where dangerous gases may be present.
This equipment should be as versatile and easy to use as possible so that all crew members are protected.
We have a range of the best portable gas detection equipment designed to cover a variety of requirements, including:
A robust and accurate portable gas detector, the Marine 4™ provides unrivalled protection in confined space applications with audible and visual alarms in the event of exposure to flammable or toxic gases.
Detecting and displaying up to 4 gases simultaneously, it is suitable for a host of applications in a variety of industries. The Marine 4™ can be configured to detect a combination of:
The current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was declared on the 1st August 2018 and has grown to become the second biggest EVD outbreak to date.
This recent outbreak followed on from the earlier Équateur province Ebola outbreak which occurred May to July 2018.
The West African Ebola virus epidemic was the largest to date with 28,616 reported cases and 11,310 deaths – although it was suspected that 17-70% of cases went unreported.
This epidemic saw reported cases outside of Africa in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.
It was believed to have started in December 2013 when a one-year-old boy in Guinea died from the disease. Later, his mother, sister and grandmother died from the same symptoms.
The village was close to a large colony of Angolan free-tailed bats, which have been thought to spread Ebola, yet none of the bats tested were found to carry the disease.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Update
As of 26th December 2018, a total of 591 EVD cases, including 543 confirmed and 48 probable cases, have been reported. These reported cases have come from 16 health zones in the two neighbouring provinces of North Kivu and Ituri (Figure 1).
Of these cases, 54 were healthcare workers, of which 18 died. Overall, 357 cases have died (case fatality ratio 60%).
In the past week, ten additional patients were discharged from Ebola treatment centres; overall, 203 patients have recovered to date. The highest number of cases were from age group 15‒49 years with 60% (355/589) of the cases, and of those, 228 were female.
WHO advises against any restriction of travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the currently available information.
Currently, no country has implemented travel measures that significantly interfere with international traffic to and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Travellers should seek medical advice before travel and should practice good hygiene.
Ebola’s transmitted through close and direct physical contact with infected bodily fluids. The most infectious being vomit, blood, and faeces.
There have also been cases of Ebola detected in breast milk, urine and semen; with studies detecting the virus 70 days after the patience had recovered from symptoms.
There have also been studies showing the virus to be present in Saliva and tears, but the sample size was limited.
If coming into contact with those who may have Ebola, you should ensure protective equipment is worn.
Ebola can be transmitted indirectly through contaminated objects and surfaces.
If you are frequently in contact with objects, materials or surfaces that could carry infection, it’s recommended to regularly clean and disinfect. Wearing protective equipment will decrease the risk of transmission.
There is no evidence that Ebola can be transmitted via airborne means. The virus could be transmitted through large wet droplets from a heavily infected individual coughing and sneezing at close distance, but no study has confirmed this.
Again, if you are in close proximity with people who may be in contact with the virus disease, ensure thorough cleaning procedures are in place and consider safety equipment.
There is currently no licensed vaccine to protect people from the Ebola virus. Therefore, any requirements for certificates of Ebola vaccination are not a reasonable basis for restricting movement across borders or the issuance of visas for passengers leaving the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The latest Ebola outbreak is the second biggest to date, behind the West African Ebola virus epidemic 2012-2016.
There are currently just short of 600 cases, with around 10% of those being healthcare workers.
Ebola is passed through direct contact with infected bodily fluids and can survive for 70+ days after the symptoms have passed.
Although there is currently no cure, the risk of spread can be greatly reduced though personal and surface cleaning procedures, and further reduced with protective equipment.
This simple technique will save you hundreds on your next chart purchase.
Automation is fantastic for business – but are there hidden costs?
Advancements in tech and innovation are crucial to the shipping industry. We’re passionate about cutting-edge products and services at Martek Marine, it’s what makes us.
But what if there are times when Artificial Intelligence is costing you? Is it better to have a human eye?
It’s a simple voyage. Aberdeen to Oslo.
After a few clicks on your route planning software, your route is ready. The helpful system selects the relevant charts.
Click. Add to cart. You’ve spent an extra $300.
But why is overspending possible when technology is efficient?
AI is there to make our lives easier, but you won’t have to look far to find morality issues.
A dilemma of safety
In 2016 a class action lawsuitwas filed against Tesla over their driver-less cars. Built around Tesla’s decision not to use its Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system when a driver is pressing on the accelerator. This decision was blamed for preventable accidents, like driving into a wall.
Tesla removed AEB in situations where you’re taking action to avoid a collision. For example:
You turn the steering wheel sharply.
You press the accelerator pedal.
You press and release the brake pedal
A vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, is no longer detected ahead.
Humans are responsible for 1.25 million road deaths a year. But there are times when the human brain can perform logic currently beyond the grasp of AI.
Back to charts
When it comes to charts, AI plays it safe – with good reason. When balanced with a trained eye, you optimise results.
“Tech is great, but without the human touch, you’re overspending. The human element brings years of experience to the fore, making simple, safe and cost-effective decisions.” Steve Dionne
Martek Marine’s Chart expert, Steve Dionne, believes in the balance between man and machine.
On 24th September, Steve is holding a free webinar to show you how to save hundreds in chart costs. In 30 minutes, you’ll pick up simple, cost saving tips.
The human touch
There’s a valid argument for autonomous systems. But what do humans bring to the field?
Dedicated account managers do exactly what their title suggests. They’re dedicated to your organisation.
You’ll notice how similar companies do things differently.
It might be their communication methods, their procedures or culture. Although AI will work, each system would need to be customised to the company for full cultural integration.
Martek Marine, embrace new ventures and incorporate them with time-tested practice.
The difference: balance
The Martek Marine Chart service does just that. Your dedicated accounts manager manages your digital charts.
You’ll plan your routes and order as usual, with one difference. Your chart manager will cast their expert eye over the selected charts. They’ll cut costs, without compromising safety.
Working with you regularly, you’re gaining a team member. Your accounts manager will know your processes, and how you run your ship.
It’s possible to balance cost effectiveness without compromising safety. Sign up for the free webinar that will save you hundreds on your next voyage.
Make the most of technology with the balance of human interaction. AI is great, but with human support, the possibilities are endless.
“I think we do know that terrorist organizations have an interest in using drones”
“We’ve seen that overseas already with growing frequency. I think the expectation is that it’s coming here imminently.” said the director of the FBI when addressing the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
“I think they are relatively easy to acquire, relatively easy to operate, and quite difficult to disrupt and monitor.”
The fact is, this threat is sophisticating faster than many organisations can counter it. Government and military sites, nuclear plants, sporting events, ports and ships, tourist hot spots… nothing is currently equipped to counter the threat of weaponised drones.
Did you know most locations purchase First Aid equipment, such as defibrillators, AFTER a person has died?
We are very much a reactive breed, reeling from the damages and hopefully preventing them from happening again.
But what if we were pre-emptive? What if we prepared so well that terrorist drone threat became redundant?
Superyachts do almost everything to ensure the vessel and those on-board are prepared to react in an emergency, they provide extensive safety training and stock state of the art electronics, lifejackets, lifeboats, and much, much more! It seems like superyachts are prepared for anything but there is one piece of safety equipment which is overlooked by the majority of superyacht managers. The Defibrillator.
When you look at this daunting fact in detail you start to question why. Considering Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the world’s biggest killer and can occur at a moment’s notice affecting anybody of any fitness level and age, you would assume the only known treatment method would be on all vessels. Especially when you are so far from medical help.
Time is of the Essence – and you NEED a defibrillator
It is common sense that the further out to sea you go, the greater the risk should you encounter some form of emergency. If this emergency is somebody suffering from an SCA, time is of the essence and you need to be able to react immediately by starting the chain of survival. Defibrillation is the only way to cure SCA and if defibrillation doesn’t occur within the first 3-5 minutes you can be looking at permanent brain damage. For every minute that goes by, the victim’s chances of survival drop by 10%.
So when SCA strikes on your yacht and you do not have a defibrillator what will you do? Will you call for a medevac? Emergency services will do their best but the chance of them reaching you within 10 minutes, even if you are docked, is highly unlikely. This puts your survival rates at almost 0%.
If there is a fatality due to SCA, what words could you possibly find to console the victim’s family, fellow crew members and friends, when you had no equipment to help – because you didn’t have the time, the budget or the knowledge?
Here are some of the misconceptions which we regularly hear about why people choose not to stock AED’s onboard superyachts.
AEDs won’t work onboard vessels due to the motion – This is not true with the Lifeforce AED as our AED is military tested for the marine environment.
AED’s are too expensive – They’re relatively affordable compared to the other costs associated with running a boat, plus it takes the worry out of the health and safety procedures you have.
You need training to use an AED – Training is recommended so people feel comfortable with the device but it isn’t essential. Our Lifeforce AED is the simplest on the market and provides verbal instruction for how to use so even somebody without training could use it.
When should you use an AEDand what if it’s used when it shouldn’t be? – In the case of somebody collapsing and you cannot find a pulse you should immediately initiate defibrillation, for added peace of mind the AED will automatically analyse the patient’s vital signs and it will ONLY deliver a shock if required.
With over 17.3 million deaths per year, SCA is the world’s biggest killer and this needs to change. The way we can prevent this amount of deaths is by ensuring that all of the places where we spend our time are all protected with the correct equipment to help victims survive.
If you are interested in finding out more about our GL Type Approved Marine Lifeforce AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) contact one of our knowledgeable staff who can help you find the best AED package for your yacht and answer any questions you may have.
UAS advancements are increasingly impacting our everyday lives, from agriculture & filmmaking to security and communications down to the products we have delivered. Its advances present major changes for the future of the maritime industry. As disruptive as the smartphone has been to the world, the use of drones will revolutionise the landscape of ship operations for years to come.
Compliance with the strict marine regulations and codes can be vastly time consuming and expensive for any operator. In an industry with such alarming historical safety statistics, it’s imperative that we embrace innovation to eradicate onboard risks.
Regulations are constantly being amended and introduced to make shipping safer so over the next 3 weeks we are going to look at the Top 3 Innovations Improving Marine Safety.