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Published on 17/04/2017

Calibration is key when it comes to improving maritime safety!

Calibration gas supply to the global shipping industry is a rapidly growing market. So, why is calibration so important when it comes to maritime safety? In the second instalment of our two-part blog, we take a look at the types of instruments used for gas detection and measurement in the maritime industry, who’s responsible for calibration onboard ships, what gas mixtures and flow rates are used in the shipping industry and what fresh ideas the leading calibration gas suppliers are bringing to the table, that are revolutionising calibration gas supply.

What instruments are used for gas detection and measurement in the maritime industry?

In the continuous drive to improve maritime safety, the regulatory bodies of the maritime industry strive to improve gas detection and measurement on board ships by introducing new regulations. The latest regulation, which came into force in July 2016, by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), made it mandatory for all applicable vessels to carry portable gas detectors onboard.

According to Regulation XI-1/7, every ship is to carry at least one appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument, which as a minimum, is capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapours, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, prior to entry into enclosed or confined spaces.

As advised in Regulation MSC.1/Circ.1477, “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.”

The need for gas detection and measurement equipment and therefore, the need for calibration is growing. To be able to carry out calibration tasks effectively there are a wide range of instruments, both fixed and portable that are suitable for use on ships. Each unit is usually calibrated for a specific gas and some have dual functions, such as combustible gas and oxygen.

It’s important to understand the limitations of the instruments, as well as their function and method of use. That’s why handbooks from the manufacturer should always be consulted for full information on the instrument before use.

Who’s responsible for ensuring instruments are calibrated onboard a ship?

The Chief Officer is responsible for the condition monitoring and maintenance of all portable and fixed gas measuring instruments on a ship, as well as ensuring that an adequate amount of the correct grade of gas is readily available.

Certain instruments may even need to be calibrated ashore. The Chief Officer is responsible for identifying, calibrating, and adjusting all portable gas measuring instruments available onboard. Monitoring equipment should always be marked with the due date of the next calibration and the equipment should not be used if calibration of the device is overdue.

What calibration gas mixtures and flow rates are used in the maritime industry?

There are many different mixtures and pure gases available. Marine industry calibration gases typically comprise of; hydrocarbons & air mixtures; hydrocarbons & nitrogen mixtures; carbon monoxide, or hydrogen sulphide mixtures; oxygen & nitrogen mixtures, as well as pure gases such as nitrogen (99.999% N2) and methane (100% CH4).

Reputable calibration gas suppliers, not only provide a wide range of mixed gases, but also a large range of regulator flow rates too, typically ranging between 0.5 and 3 litres per minute (LPM).

FastCalGas: A fresh approach to calibration gas supply

Most modern portable gas detectors are designed to monitor multiple gases. Martek Marine provide a range of quad gases, such as 20ppm H2S, 60ppm CO, 1.45% CH4, 15% O2/N2 and 25ppm H2S, 100ppm CO, 1.1% C3H8, 19% O2/N2, for the accurate calibration and testing of portable multi-gas detectors, as well as supplying high quality cylinders for fixed gas detectors too.

Martek is offering a fresh approach to calibration gas supply for the maritime industry, which means that customers can focus on calibration and keeping their vessels safe, rather than being tied up with the hassle that’s traditionally associated with buying calibration gas.

98% of Martek’s FastCalGas orders are shipped within just 24 hours, thanks to lean order processing, married with an extensive and robust global supply chain. Customers can purchase gas quickly and easily online, anytime, anywhere in world. Breaking from the norm, Martek are the only calibration gas supplier offering this unique service.

A one-stop-shop when it comes to procuring calibration/span and quad gas, FastCalGas is a fully managed service. Martek know when a customer’s gas is about to run out and will send out an alert in good time, thereby ensuring equipment never misses its calibration. By using the best, high-quality materials, Martek are able to boast a 27-month shelf life on gases, which is the highest shelf life in the industry.

If you would like to try FastCalGas, then why not take advantage of Martek’s latest offer? For a limited time only, FastCalGas is available free of charge to new customers. Ready to find out more? Just quote “FCGFREE” when you enquire with the Martek team today. Terms and conditions apply.