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”

10 Reasons Why Access to Drinking Water is so Vital

We couldn’t survive without water. Around 60% of our body is made up of it and it’s essential to the processes that keep us functioning ¬– dehydration can be a contributing factor in life-threatening problems with your heart, lungs, kidneys and bladder.

However, we’re constantly losing water in a variety of ways – especially on board ship where the effects are increased further – so it’s crucial that we replace it to keep healthy. This isn’t always easy when you’re at sea and access to a supply of safe, potable drinking water can be complicated.

Here are 10 reasons why staying hydrated is so important:

1. Drink water for strength and endurance

Your muscles can’t contract and expand efficiently without water which will lead to a reduction in your physical abilities and a longer recovery time after exercise. The water you get rid of when you sweat also means that you’re losing valuable nutrients.

2. Drink water to think and concentrate

As well as other sensitive tissues, water cushions your brain and spinal cord. Without it, your brain cells shrink and the production of neurotransmitters is interrupted so your ability to focus on even the simplest of tasks will be affected.

3. Drink water to stay sharp

Failure to hydrate properly leads to fatigue and tiredness. Water is a much more effective drink than sugary energy drinks which might give you a sudden boost but will lead to an energy crash later.

4. Drink water to breathe

If you’re dehydrated, your body will restrict your airways to try and minimise water loss. This effects your ability to breathe and increases the impact of asthma, allergies, colds and viruses.

5. Drink water to stay cool

When your body heats up, the water that’s stored in the layers of your skin comes to the surface as sweat and cools you down. This water needs replacing to prevent heat exhaustion in a hot environment or during physical activity.

6. Drink water as part of a healthy diet

While water is no substitution for food, it can help with your eating habits – especially if you have it instead of sweetened fizzy drinks and juices. Drinking water before a meal will help your stomach to fill up and you’ll need less food to be able to function properly.

7. Drink water for your joints

The cartilage around your joints and spine allows bones to move freely against each other – its spongy texture is made up of over 80% water and prevents grating and rubbing. Without enough water, cartilage loses some of its shock-absorber effect so there’s more friction. This results in your joints aching and becoming painful.

8. Drink water for your circulation

Our blood is made up of over 90% water and if this concentration falls, it becomes thicker. This makes it harder for the heart to pump it around your body leading to an increase in blood pressure.

9. Drink water for your digestion

Your stomach and bowels need water to function properly and, if you aren’t getting enough, you run the risk of constipation, heartburn and stomach ulcers.

10. Drink water for your body waste

Saliva, tears and mucus all depend on having sufficient water and it flushes waste from your system when you go to the toilet. If you can’t maintain and regulate your body fluids, it will lead to problems with your kidneys in the long term.

Access to drinking water on board ship is not easy. With Drinksafe, you can make sure that your crews always have a good supply. As well as guaranteed compliance with water testing regulations, it’s one of the easiest to use and most cost-effective kits on the market.

That’s why the world’s largest shipping companies trust Drinksafe to take care of the well-being of their crew and passengers.

Contact us to find out more.

How does a gas detector work?

There have been gas detectors for as long as people have been aware of the harmful effects of gases in confined spaces. In the early days of mining, well before the development of electronic sensors, canaries were used.
They were taken underground in cages and if they stopped singing or died, then the miners would be alerted.

We’ve come a long way since the 19th and early 20th centuries. Now gas detection methods are much more precise – and much less harmful to animals.

How a modern gas detector works

Gas detectors use a sensor to measure the concentration of particular gases in the atmosphere. The sensor serves as a reference point and scale, producing a measurable electric current when a chemical reaction caused by a specific gas occurs. The sensor will monitor these currents and alarm the user when the presence of gas approaches an amount that is hazardous.

Early instruments were made to detect just one gas but now they can measure several at once – most commonly, oxygen (O2), flammable gases or vapours (LEL), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and carbon monoxide (CO). These are the gases that a 4-gas detector monitors, the minimum requirements set out by SOLAS Regulation XI/1-7.

The sensor

Most portable gas detectors use a pellistor/catalytic bead LEL sensor. To function accurately, it requires a minimum of 10% oxygen in the environment to avoid the build-up of tar and unburned fuel on the activated ring.

Theoretically, the sensor can last up to four years but it is very sensitive and can easily break if the monitor is knocked or dropped.

Most sensors will be reaching the end of their life by the time they are three years old and will need replacing. This can be a costly process that will leave the detector out of action, so you also need extra instruments to make sure you’re covered while the repair work is being carried out. Other components like backlight screens and audio alerts will begin to develop faults too so it’s important to keep detectors well-maintained.

Calibration

Pellistor sensors can be poisoned by many things, including the gases they’re detecting.

Contaminated sensors may not register dangerous gas levels and will become gradually slower and more unresponsive over time. Their performance depends on thorough testing using calibration and bump-testing to make sure they’re always measuring the correct amount of gas to keep seafarers and vessels safe.

Infrared sensors

These don’t require oxygen so will work in completely inert atmospheres. This makes them ideal for confined space detection and taking samples from tanks where a lack of oxygen is an issue. They’re also immune to sensor poisoning so there’s no need for calibration to ensure the gas detector is functioning correctly.

A traditional pellistor sensor uses a heated aluminium coil that drains a large amount of power. However, gas detectors that use infrared sensors are much more energy efficient with batteries that won’t require charging as frequently.

MGC Simple+

The cutting-edge infrared technology in the MGC Simple+ means its battery lasts for three years without charging – a world first for a portable gas detector.

It doesn’t require calibration (although it can be easily set-up to do this to meet the specifications of a risk assessments or safe systems of work) and is rated IP68 so is protected from even the finest dust and can be submerged in water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5m.

MGC Simple+ also comes with a full warranty for three years so you’ll never incur extra repair costs.

At the end of those three years, you simply replace the detector – a much cheaper option than spending money maintaining an old instrument. Buying a new detector means that you’ll also have a new three-year warranty, the instrument will always be covered.

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

NO calibration. NO charging. NO cost.

Contact us to find out more.

The Most Common Cause of Death at Sea

Working at sea has always been demanding – the hours are long and irregular and the job usually requires military-precision routine. The environment also has the additional risks of handling machinery, chemicals, fuels and gases without easy access to emergency services if things go wrong.

Despite advanced technology and a greater focus on safety, there are still many dangers to seafarers. The economic struggles faced by the maritime industry have also resulted in the reduction of crew numbers, an increase in work hours and quicker turnarounds in ports that leaves less time to rest and recover.

SOLAS

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was first proposed in response to the sinking of The Titanic but eventually took effect across signatory flag states in 1948. The current version came into force in 1974 and is continually amended and updated to take into account new developments in merchant shipping and more sophisticated safety procedures.

It covers everything from the stability of installations and how cargo is carried to communications, ship management and what life-saving equipment should be kept on board. However, despite the comprehensive guidelines set out by SOLAS, fatalities on ships are still occurring from a variety of different sources.

Liberian Flag data

Liberian Flag has collated and published information regarding the leading causes of death among its seafarers for the last five years. The data goes up to 1st November 2018 and even then, without the last two months of the year, it can be seen that 2018 wasn’t the best year for safety. In fact, it was the worst since 2014 with 43 deaths lives lost at sea.

Being caught or hit by objects caused 7 deaths and suicide was responsible for 5 but the most significant number – double the nearest figure – was for ‘heart attack, collapse, unconscious’. These issues caused the deaths of 14 seafarers in 2018 and the numbers were just as high for the previous years: 18 in 2017, 14 in 2016, 19 in 2015, 25 in 2014 and 12 in 2013. ‘Heart attack, collapse, unconscious’ has been the leading cause of death among Liberian Flag seafarers for the last 5 years.

The risks of Sudden Cardiac Arrest at sea

Sudden Cardiac Arrest can strike anyone at any time, even the fittest and most healthy but the most common cause is a heart attack – a blockage in the arteries which prevents oxygenated blood from reaching the heart. Obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, high blood pressure and a cholesterol heavy diet can all be contributing factors.

Clinical and statistical studies have also identified several other factors that increase the risk of a heart attack. Men, for example, are at greater risk and fall victim earlier in life – generally over the age of 45. As you get older, your blood vessels become less flexible making it harder for blood to flow through them, so age is a significant factor.

Over 25% of officers on ships from OECD countries are over 50 years old and 50% are over 40. There are many additional contributing factors on board a working vessel too – hypothermia, electrocution, trauma caused by impacts or falls, respiratory and circulation problems, metabolic changes and the effects of drugs all significantly increase the chances of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.

Protecting Seafarers

Rapid defibrillation with an AED is the only proven way to treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest. If a victim is shocked within sixty seconds, their chances of survival can be as high as 90%. Within five minutes, there’s still a 70% chance but after this, it drops by 10% every minute.

For this reason, AEDs are becoming commonplace in schools, sports venues, tourist locations and workplaces – and they’re saving lives. However, if your workplace is at sea, hours away from a hospital or medevac, and a crew member suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, their chances of survival are practically zero if there isn’t AED in the medical chest.

Germany was the first flag state to introduce legislation that legally requires seagoing merchant vessels to carry AEDs but this was way back in 2012 and the rest of the world has been very slow to follow suit. While AEDs are becoming standard equipment on cruise ships and ferries, merchant vessels – with all their increased risks – are still being neglected.

Lifeforce Marine AED

Lifeforce is designed specifically for the tough conditions faced on board ship. It’s the first AED to be GL Type Approved for the marine industry and is 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 lids, cases or moving parts to get in the way during an emergency. It’s lightweight, portable and easy to store.

During an emergency situation, non-medically trained personnel may often be in a state of panic so it’s also essential that your AED is easy to use for all crew members – it could make all the difference to a victim’s survival. Independent studies have shown that Lifeforce is the simplest and most successful AED to use in the world, stating that: ‘Users are on average 26% more likely to deliver effective defibrillation using LIFEFORCE® than with other AEDs’.

Stay safe at sea.

Make sure your crew are protected from the world’s biggest killer with a Type Approved defibrillator that you can depend on.

Contact us to find out more.

Gas Detection: What is a 4-gas detector?

4-Gas Detectors

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.
 

Regulations

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.
 
Oxygen (O2)
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:

    • Methane
    • Oxygen
    • Carbon Monoxide
    • Hydrogen Sulphidea
  • and other flammable gases.

MGC Simple+

NO CALIBRATION. NO CHARGING. NO COSTS.

A WORLD FIRST IN PORTABLE GAS DETECTION.

From Zone 0 to inert atmospheres – with the Marine Triple-C you’re always good to go.

Innovative 3-year battery life and cutting-edge infrared technology remove the need to calibrate, meaning no unproductive maintenance breaks and no expensive sensor replacement.

This all-in-one solution guarantees compliance and reduces risk whilst saving time and money – all at the touch of a single button.

 

Discover how we can help to keep your crew safe on board ship.