The risk of Legionella at sea

Managing the water supply on ships can be troublesome. If you don’t monitor it correctly, it will have serious effects on both your crew and your operations.

Poorly maintained water can easily result in contamination from bacteria and pathogens leading to outbreaks of noroviruses, Salmonella, E-Coli and Legionnaire’s disease.

Here we look at some of the dangers of Legionella and how you can avoid them.

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause diseases such as Pontiac Fever, Lochgoilhead Fever and, the most serious, Legionnaire’s Disease.

The bacteria gets into your lungs when you breathe in aerosols – small droplets of water suspended in the air. If not treated with antibiotics, it begins to affect the heart, brain, and other organs. The drop in blood pressure can also lead to septic shock as well as lung and kidney failure.

Where is Legionella found?

The bacteria is common in natural water sources like rivers, lakes and reservoirs but usually in low quantities. It becomes a major problem in purpose-built water systems where conditions are right for it to thrive.

It’s pretty resilient to low temperatures but prefers a temperature between 20-50 °C. Showers, cleaning systems, hot and cold water systems, air conditioning systems and drinking water systems all provide the right environment for contamination.

If these systems are poorly maintained, the bacteria will grow and increase the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

What is Legionnaire’s Disease?

This is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. The symptoms are similar to the flu – you’ll have a high temperature with fever and chills, muscle pain and tiredness, a cough, and probably a headache. You might also feel confused and experience vomiting or diarrhea.

Everyone is open to infection. However, the risk increases even further if you are over 45 years old, smoke or drink heavily, have an impaired immune system or a pre-existing condition like diabetes, heart disease or respiratory issues.

Given that a 2018 study found that 46% of UK officers (holding Certificates of Competency) were over the age of 45, this suggests a large number of seafarers are at increased risk.

Because of its similarity to the flu, it’s not always easy to diagnose – especially at sea where they may not be easy access to a medical professional who can conduct urine or blood tests. Access to antibiotics to treat the disease will also be much harder to find.

In the past 30 years, there have been over 200 cases of Legionnaires disease on ships and it can have a devastating effect on your crew and operations. In one incident alone, 50 seafarers were infected and one crew member died.

Legionella at sea

All man-made water systems can be a breeding ground for Legionella and the conditions onboard ship provide the perfect environment for the bacteria to thrive. You should be paying particular attention to these areas:

– Any part of your water system that has a temperature between 20–50 °C.

– Any outlet that creates and disperses water droplets. This includes showers, sink taps, air conditioning units, fire hoses, and washing equipment.

– Anywhere that water is stored or re-circulated.

– Places where there are deposits containing nutrients that allow bacteria to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, organic matter, and biofilms.

What can I do to prevent it?

There are a few simple measures that you can perform to reduce the risks from Legionella at sea.

Boiler outlets
Make sure the water is more than 60 °C.

Taps, toilets and showers
If they’re not frequently used, they need to be flushed through at least once a week.

Hot and cold water supply
The hot water supply temperature should be greater than 60 °C and the cold below 25 °C. If they aren’t, then the water needs to be tested for legionella.

Showerheads and pipework
At least every three months, dismantle, clean and soak for a few hours in a disinfectant or chlorine solution. If a shower hasn’t been turned on for 2-4 weeks, you should do this before it’s used again. You also need to find and remove any plumbing that’s become isolated from the regular flow of water or is no longer used.

Freshwater tanks
To prevent the growth of bacteria, make sure the residual disinfectant level is maintained at more than 0.2ppm free chlorine. They also need to be super chlorinated twice a year with the water flushed through outlet points.

Testing

Ship operators have a responsibility to protect their employees from legionella, as outlined in the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive.

You should conduct regular tests to check for bacteria present in the water onboard ship – both your sewage effluence and your freshwater.

Drinksafe will allow you to maintain the safety of your water source as well its distribution system. It will test for bacteria and toxins in the water that you use every day for drinking, hygiene, and food preparation. For extra peace of mind, we can also provide a special add-on that’s specifically designed to protect against the dangers of legionella.

Know the risks and always ensure that your water supply is safe.

Contact us to learn more about our onboard legionella and potable water test kits.

Personal or Portable Gas Detectors – what’s the difference?

The size, capability, and usage can vary greatly between personal gas detectors and portable gas detectors.

However, these distinctions might not always be clearly defined by suppliers which can leave you feeling confused.

Which type and model of detector you choose will depend on your own particular requirements:

  • the gas or gases you need to monitor
  • the frequency and conditions of usage
  • and the level of detail you need in your reporting.

Personal Gas Detectors

As the name suggests, personal gas detectors are small enough to be clipped to the belt or clothing of the user.

Because they’re designed to be worn, they need to be able to withstand the kinds of knocks or damage that come when they’re carried into confined spaces, so you’ll usually find that they have a high IP rating.

To keep everything compact, they’ll probably use a self-contained battery which is sealed inside the detector. When the battery reaches the end of its life, the device itself will need to be replaced.

Personal gas detectors are usually much cheaper than portable detectors but their capabilities and screen displays may be more limited and they don’t always allow for calibration or pump options.

They’re often used for detecting one particular gas – like our hydrogen sulphide and oxygen single gas detectors – but more advanced devices can detect four or even five.

Portable Gas Detectors

These larger and more complex devices can offer a more sophisticated solution both in the number of gases they’re able to trace and their data logging.

Although they’re not as durable or easy to carry as personal gas detectors, they do come equipped with a pump which enables you to test remotely.

They’re also easier to calibrate and you can re-charge or change their batteries without the need to replace the whole unit.

The greater number of sensors on a portable detector means that they can provide a wide variety of different feedback as well as storing much more information.
The software on the Marine Tankscape, for example, provides complete data logging of gas readings with tank identification and vessel location which makes detection, analysis, and action planning easy.

It also enables you to print tamper-proof calibration certificates on-board, further reducing costs and making the process far less complicated.

The best of both

The Marine 4 and Marine 5 can be classed as both personal and portable.

They have the benefits of the personal – small enough to be worn, robust enough to cope with tough conditions, simple one-button operation with audio and visual alarms – but they feature the advantages of a portable gas detector too.

The Marine 4 will detect and display up to four gases simultaneously.
These can be configured depending on your requirements and include a combination of methane, oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, and other flammable gases – the Marine 5 gives you one extra should you need it.

Both are compatible with an internal sampling pump which enables you to test remotely and safeguard your crew. This provides flexibility for pre-entry into deep tanks, holds and void spaces and has a wide range of applications in a variety of different industries.

You can even bump test and ensure you’re always compliant by using the ABC Station. This provides you on board self-calibration and produces a tamper-proof calibration certificate that’s acceptable to all Class, Port State Control and Oil Majors.

Martek offers a full consulting service to create a bespoke gas detection package that’s tailor-made to your exact requirements. Get yours now.

The problems with connectivity at sea

A good internet connection is fast becoming essential in today’s shipping industry. Operators who don’t stay on top of the latest developments and take advantage of all the benefits they bring are beginning to lose out commercially to those who do.

But connectivity at sea isn’t all plain sailing. Here are some of the problems that you might face – and the solutions offered by the mini-VSAT Broadband.

It has low bandwidth

Connectivity can significantly reduce your operating costs. It enables you to improve fuel consumption, monitor performance, update real-time weather reports and fine-tune your planning. There are also numerous benefits that come from seafarers being able to use their own devices – training, leisure activities and staying in contact with friends and family, for example.

These factors are becoming a standard issue on-board and they all depend on bandwidth. The higher the bandwidth, the greater the advantage to your operations.

In the past, however, bandwidth restrictions and coverage restraints have been a major issue with connectivity at sea. Happily, this is no longer the case. Systems like the mini-VSAT Broadband are able to provide a high-speed data channel with unlimited usage that’s available in a variety of different plans. The high-speed global network delivers speeds as fast as 20/3 Mbps and is perfect for video-conferencing, streaming, entertainment content and the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) which allows the transfer of data without any human interaction whatsoever.

It’s unreliable

You might expect unstable connections, lack of coverage, lapses in service and long delays as your system tries to locate a satellite. A good internet system should take into account these factors and search for overlapping beams that take advantage of redundancy in satellite coverage.

The mini-VSAT Broadband uses the most advanced managed HTS network – the industry leading Ku-band VSAT. It has a coverage of 272 million square kilometres and the system has automatic fast switching between the network’s redundant beams which gives you seamless communications wherever you are in the world. The prioritised voice service has crystal clear call quality and supports Wi-Fi connections between compatible phones.

It also has a much greater resilience to weather and rain fade – important considerations for the extreme and changeable conditions at sea.

It’s complicated

A huge rack of equipment, lengthy installations and being locked into a restrictive long-term contract – these are all things of the past.

With the mini-VSAT Broadband, you get a straightforward one box solution that manages your whole network without lengthy ownership costs. The plan is much more flexible too, just a single monthly subscription that you can easily change or cancel with no penalties or commitment. To help with any technical issues, we offer a global support programme and a two-year parts and labour warranty that you can extend to five years.

It’s expensive

Connectivity doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Installation is free in selected international ports and your airtime options can be adapted to suit the requirements of every kind of operation.

The average person touches their smart phone 2,617 times a day so, to prevent your data usage costs spiralling, our system gives you complete visibility. You can monitor and control the amount of data your crew and equipment are using to make sure you always keep within your budget.

It’s not secure

For all the benefits of being connected at sea, there are dangers too – cyber-attacks can have a devastating effect on your operations. In 2017 the NotPetya ransomware cost Møller-Maersk an estimated £300 million and the company had to reinstall over 45,000 PCs, 4,000 servers and 2,500 applications. This wasn’t even a targeted attack.

Without adequate protection, a determined hacker could penetrate all your operational information including routes, manifests, charts, payroll and employee details. Shipping companies always need to be aware of security and take the necessary precautions.

The mini-VSAT Broadband has a six-level cybersecurity programme which includes an advanced network-level firewall – there’s also automated threat management for extra peace of mind. For breaches caused by human behaviour, it comes with the award-winning KVH Videotel ‘Cybersecurity Safety at Sea’ training programme which has proved invaluable in making sure seafarers are aware of the risks that come with on-board connectivity.

Mini-VSAT Broadband gives you fast, secure, global connectivity with no hassles or hidden costs.

Contact us to find out more.

IMPORTANT BULLETIN: Software for ABC Stations

In September 2016 we were made aware of a time/date error in software of the Auto Bump Calibration station (ABC) for Marine 4’s.  To resolve this issue customers were sent instructions and an update on a USB labelled either Silver or Gold ABC Update. 

If the instructions sent with the update were not followed in full it can corrupt the system and make the station inoperable.

Until now, we’ve been replacing any corrupted stations regardless of the age or warranty status, this will cease from 1st August 2019.

The Silver or Gold ABC Update was a very specific upload to solve a very specific software issue, and the USB’s issued should never be used for routine updates or to fix unrelated problems. We know there are still some USBs out there so if you have one, please discard it.  It can be identified as it will state gold/silver on the label.

Don’t upload the Silver or Gold ABC Update to your ABC Station unless you have been instructed to do so by Martek Marine.

If you do experience an issue with your station that isn’t covered in the manuals, contact one of our experts in the technical support team. And, if you have any queries or further questions, please let us know – we’re always here to help.

Technical Support Team –
Dave.orourke@martek-marine.com / +44 (0) 1709 599 213
Bridie.pears@martek-marine.com / +44 (0) 1709 599 237

Gas detection: the hidden costs of third-party servicing

On paper, using a third-party to service your gas detection equipment may seem like a cheap option.

However, there are several important considerations that can be easily overlooked. These factors could end-up costing you significantly more in the long-run.

Maintenance and repair

Because an intermediary won’t have in-depth, intimate knowledge of the systems they’re servicing, potential issues can easily be missed during routine maintenance.

If a problem does develop it will also be more difficult for them to diagnose it. They may have to use trial and error to find out what’s wrong, taking up valuable time and probably resulting in repeat attendances. All of this will cost you extra money that could have been saved by having the equipment serviced by the supplier.

Spares

Guesswork and misdiagnosis can lead to multiple purchases of components and spares that simply aren’t needed.

For example, it’s very common for third-party services to suggest replacing sensors or buying new pumps – both of which are expensive components. However, it’s quite likely that actually, only the consumable components inside the sensors and pumps need purchasing. This a much cheaper option and something that the supplier of the device would be aware of.

Martek assures a first-time fix for issues such as these. We come equipped to cover all eventualities and only use what is absolutely necessary in order to minimise your costs.

3rd party servicing considerations
Are you paying for the hidden cost of a 3rd party service?

Safety

Regardless of how much knowledge and experience a third-party intermediary claim to have, using them is always a risk. Gas detection devices and critical safety systems are simply too important to take chances with.

You could face detention for lack of compliance, or even put the lives of your crew in danger by using someone who hasn’t been trained by the manufacturer to service your equipment.

Training

Your costs will be reduced if your crew fully understand the systems you use. It will allow issues to be identified quicker and more easily so that they only issue RFQs for what’s really necessary.

A third-party intermediary doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to advise your crew whereas Martek offers effective training on the operation of the equipment we provide. This will ultimately help you to keep your long-term costs down.

Warranty

Most gas detection equipment has exclusive components – Martek, for example, has a unique sensor provider. When third-parties can’t source these elements, they end up replacing critical sensors with different, ‘closest fit’ alternatives. This creates a hybrid system that isn’t guaranteed to operate properly. In addition to this, it will no longer be manufacturer approved so your warranty will be voided too.

Upgrades

It’s unlikely that the gas detection equipment you’re using is brand new – it may even have been a while since you looked into the latest available developments.

There are many cost-effective upgrades that could provide numerous benefits to your system by reducing the number of consumable spares or the frequency of services required. Third-party intermediaries may not be aware of these upgrades – or even if they are, they won’t be in a position to provide them to you.

Martek is a world-leader in marine safety with years of experience in gas detection technology. We have a global supply chain to deliver goods quickly and conveniently and we’re always at the forefront of the latest innovative and cost-saving equipment.

Packages

Martek is a one-stop-shop for all your gas detection requirements so we’re in the position to put together a solution that’s designed for you. We offer various packages which include spare parts and calibration gases that will streamline your supply chain, reduce the costs of multiple orders and keep your invoices to a minimum.

The world’s major ship operators trust us to improve their performance and keep their ships and crews safe. You should too.

Contact us to find out more.

Detentions for sewage treatment on the increase

Marine pollution has always been in the spotlight but now, even more attention is being paid to the impact of sewage on the environment. Strict regulations and an increasing focus on compliance is having a big effect on shipping.

A recent bulletin issued by UK P&I Club has highlighted the issue. It reveals that detentions due to sewage are on the rise at an alarming rate.

Detentions

The bulletin concerns recent data released by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) which shows the extent of the problem. So far in 2019, the most common reason for the detention of their vessels was sewage-related.

The deficiencies – generally worded as ‘sewage treatment plant defective’ – could be down to a number of issues. These range from poor maintenance of equipment, inadequate checking of effluence or, in some cases, discharging raw sewage directly into the waters of the port.

Detentions for inadequate sewage treatment are a growing concern for ship operators. In 2018, sewage was also listed as the second most common detainable deficiency in the Tokyo MOU.

MARPOL Annex IV

The legislation that you need to comply with will depend on factors such as the vessel size and type, where it’s operating and when its sewage treatment equipment was installed.

Annex IV is a complex piece of legislation which focusses on the treatment of sewage and the discharge of sewage effluents. We’ve compiled a comprehensive free guide to help clarify all aspects of sewage effluent legislation which applies to commercial shipping vessels.

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.

There are a number of guidelines within MARPOL Annex IV that are worth paying particular attention to in order to avoid detention:

Resolution MEPC.227(64)
This applies to sewage treatment plants installed after 1st January 2016 on ships that are operating outside the ‘special areas’ designated in MARPOL Annex IV (detailed in MEPC.200(62))

Resolution MEPC.159(55)
These are revised guidelines about implementing effluent standards and performance tests for sewage treatment. They apply to treatment plants installed between 1st January 2010 and 1st January 2016 on vessels that operate inside ‘special areas’.

Resolution MEPC.2(VI)
This contains recommendations for international effluent standards and provides more guidance for performance testing in sewage treatment plants. It applies to equipment installed before 1st January 2010 on ships operating in ‘special areas’.

Inspections

During an inspection, the vessel should be able to demonstrate that it meets all the operational requirements of MARPOL Annex IV when it comes to effluents and sewage treatment. The International Safety Management Code also requires crews to be familiar with sewage treatment systems and maintain up-to-date records.

If a defect is discovered, this must be reported to the appropriate authority at the earliest opportunity. Additionally, you can’t make any changes to the ship’s systems without authorisation from the Flag Administration after an inspection has been conducted.

Essentially, you need to make sure that your sewage treatment processes are always compliant or you risk detention.

A Simple Solution

The amount of legislation can be overwhelming – especially as it’s frequently updated and is likely to get even more stringent in the future. Our new Sewage Water Test Kit offers an easy way to make sure your sewage treatment processes meet the regulations.

It provides you with everything you need to carry out regular testing and doesn’t require any formal training. Everything comes in one kit and the test procedures don’t use any complicated equipment – they’re quick and easy and can be performed by anyone. Its design is based on recommendations from the Department of the Environment and the Water Research Centre so you get only the most vital components that make sure you’re compliant.

Carrying out regular tests of your vessel’s sewage will enable you to identify issues much earlier and correct them with the minimum of difficulty. This will save time and money, and increase your productivity.

Don’t risk detention. Make sure your sewage processing is compliant.

A Guaranteed Compliant Test Solution

10 reasons why you need to be connected at sea

Reliable broadband at sea can have a dramatic effect on your running costs and save you money in a variety of different ways. Here we look at 10 reasons why operators need to stay connected…

  1. Efficiency

Being connected means data collection and reporting systems are able to operate in real time. The Internet of Things (IoT) enable sensors on mechanical and digital devices to transfer information over a network without human interaction. This can provide you with precise details about fuel consumption, operating conditions, regulatory compliance and many other performance indicators which can either be managed onboard or transmitted instantly to shore.

  1. Crew welfare

Today’s crews are made up of a multitude of different nationalities working longer hours with much faster turnarounds in ports. The average person touches their smart phone 2,617 times a day so being in an isolated environment without the ability to connect with family and friends can have a debilitating effect on a seafarer’s morale. This is particularly important as crews get younger – millennials’ have grown up in the digital age where connectivity is taken for granted.

A good internet service will allow people to use their own devices in the privacy of their cabins, accessing news services in their native language, internet banking, instant messaging and a variety of sport and entertainment options.

  1. Safety

As well as keeping close contact with onshore support and guidance, you’ll also be able to receive live reports of hazardous situations and get instant access to medical specialists if one of your crew falls ill or is injured.

Additionally, the IoT enables operators to easily monitor potentially dangerous materials and maintain safety equipment by using live cameras and sensors. For example, if a lifebuoy or raft is deployed and this information is automatically transmitted back to shore as soon as it hits the water, then rescue operations can begin much quicker.

  1. Lower Insurance Premiums

The data you receive from onboard sensors can be used to demonstrate your safety record to insurance companies. This can result in significant savings for ship operators.

  1. Less down-time

Data collection and constant monitoring of equipment is much more cost-effective than being suddenly surprised by an unexpected problem which could result in lengthy delays.

If your ship has good connectivity, it will also allow remote access. This means that experts can access computers, software and networks from shore, cutting down on the need for onboard visits when you’re in port.  System maintenance, upgrades and troubleshooting can all be done by remote administration without interrupting your day-to-day operations.

  1. Keep up to date

Updates to navigational charts, weather forecasts and operational procedures can all be done effortlessly with a good internet connection at sea. Additionally, media services like the one offered by KVH will allow shipowners to send video messages easily from headquarters to vessels in the fleet.

The mini-VSAT Broadband  provides exceptional call quality with perfect clarity as well as supporting Wi-Fi calling between cell phones. It’s able to do this by automatic fast switching between its global network using redundant beams for seamless and completely reliable communications wherever you are in the world.

  1. Training

The shipping industry is constantly developing and improving so modernising working practices is an ongoing challenge. New equipment, new processes, new techniques – crews always need to be operating at maximum efficiency. Training can therefore be an issue, taking up valuable time.

Access to learning and professional development is much simpler when there’s a strong internet connection at sea. It allows real-time chat between the shore and the vessel and downloading content isn’t a problem – training materials and large files will be easily accessible with a high-speed data channel.

  1. Attract and retain good crew

As all modern companies know, a lower turnover of staff is more cost-effective and business savvy. You don’t spend as much money on recruitment costs or training which can soon stack up as new ships enter fleets and workforces become older.

Research shows that full access to the internet is an important consideration when seafarers are deciding which vessel to work on – 75% say that this influences their choice. In terms of just how important, 92% of both officers and regular crew said that it has a ‘strong or very strong influence on who they worked for’.

  1. Stay competitive

Operators need to keep up with advances in technology in order to future proof their vessels. They can’t afford to ignore developments in efficiency, cost-effective practices and data collection as their rivals will undoubtedly be using them to give them the edge in their operations.

The maritime industry now understands the important role technology plays with 69% of seafarers seeing big data and analytics as a valuable part of their jobs in the next five years. 75% also see predictive maintenance as an opportunity rather than a threat. This shows just how vital being connected is in today’s environment – operators need to take care not to be left behind.

  1. It can be easy

Getting reliable broadband onboard your vessels is no longer a complicated and expensive process. With the mini-VSAT Broadband package, you can easily monitor bandwidth use, charge seafarers for what they use, manage traffic settings and maintain cyber security.

It’s powered by a high-speed worldwide network and provides expanded global coverage. The plan is simple and flexible with a single monthly subscription and no long-term contract so there’s no commitment – your airtime options can be adapted to fit the needs of your particular operation. If you need to cancel at any point, you won’t be penalised.

Instead of using a whole rack of equipment, this one simple box which can be installed free in selected international ports. There’s also a global support programme with up to five years warranty on parts and labour.

Make sure you’re reducing costs and improving efficiency by using a safe, reliable internet connection at sea.

NO commitment, NO penalties, NO hassle.

Contact us to find out more.

 

What is Reactive Gas?

Carrying effective gas detection equipment – and making sure that equipment is performing accurately – is an essential and potentially life-saving element of shipping. Obviously, the safety of vessels and crews is of paramount importance but, despite the best efforts of the IMO, deaths are still happening at an alarming rate.

Reactive gases in particular present lots of additional dangers. They can also provide extra headaches for operators when it comes to storage and supply.

What are they?

Essentially, reactive gases are much more chemically active than other, more commonly used gases. Their properties change in different atmospheres and they even react with the materials that they come into contact with, especially plastics and moist surfaces.

For this reason, they’re often called ‘sticky’ gases and they present many extra issues when they’re used for gas detection and calibration.

Gas detection

Their higher chemical activity means that they are more easily absorbed by the exposed areas of gas detectors like the housings, adapters and tubing. This depletes the amount available to test in a gas sample so you need to take special care when monitoring.

Using compatible materials and appropriate calibration techniques is therefore essential. Otherwise, the response time will be increased and your readings will be dangerously low.

Storage

Because reactive gases are so chemically active, they even react with the containers that are used to store them. Over time, they will be gradually absorbed by the walls of the cylinders.

To minimise these reactions, reactive gas mixtures come in aluminium canisters – generally available in either 34 or 58 litres – but they still have a limited lifespan. That’s why all cylinders have a shelf life that’s clearly labelled on the outside. Expired calibration gas will no longer provide accurate readings and will be potentially dangerous.

Lifespan

Because of the instability and impurity of the gases used and the relatively poor quality of cylinders within the industry, most calibration gases have a short shelf-life of just 6-12 months. This leads to many problems when it comes to supply.

Gases need to be replaced regularly – regardless of how much remains in the cylinder. In addition to the wastage of gas that’s gone out of date, multiple re-stocking deliveries will need to be arranged for each ship incurring freight costs, dangerous goods charges and customs’/agent’s fees.

Organising multiple deliveries and arranging schedules takes up valuable time. This is further complicated when using several suppliers as quality control can be an issue – different providers will all need to meet the same standards. Organising a reliable supply of calibration gas for a global fleet can prove a troublesome and time consuming process.

Martek’s cylinders

FastCalGas has the highest gas production standards of any calibration gas on the market. We use advanced materials and a mass spectrometer to analyse and verify the quality of every cylinder – in 30,000 deliveries, only two defects have ever been reported. This is a quality yield of over 99.993%.

Because of this, we can offer a 27-month shelf life on all reactive mixtures – a world first in the industry. This makes ordering far less complicated as you can order large stocks up to two years in advance without worrying about co-ordinating supplies that have short expiry dates.

Our cylinders are also recyclable which means that you can sell empties on to recycling companies for roughly $2 each instead of throwing them away. They just need to be prepared first.

The most important part of this preparation is to make sure they’re completely empty of any reactive gas. This will involve drilling a hole in the cylinder – some recycling companies may also require you to cut them in half. The valve also needs to be removed or rendered unusable to prove that the cylinder is no longer pressurised. This can be done quickly and easily with one of the tools that are compatible with all our canisters.

After this, cylinders will no longer classified as dangerous goods and can be recycled as scrap.

The Procurement Process

Our calibration gas inventory management service will enable you to save even more time and money by taking control of your ordering and supply process.

Martek’s service is designed to cut down on carriage and agents’ charges as well as the hidden costs that come from the time spent on administration. It simplifies the process into one order, two years’ supply and one delivery.

We review your usage of calibration gas to determine your requirements and run on-going checks with vessels, contacting each ship to arrange re-stocking after twenty-one months. Simply pass on the inventory of gas detectors on board your fleet or let us contact the ships directly to get the information and we take care of the rest.

You can purchase calibration gas quickly and easily online from anywhere in the world. Our lean order processing and extensive global supply chain means that we have a 4 hour turnaround on quotes and 98% of our orders are shipped within 24 hours.

Stop the hassle and start gaining competitive advantage.

Contact us to find out more.

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

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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.