Lifesaving focus day at Passenger Ship Safety Southampton

The Royal Lifeboat Institution joined industry colleagues including; The Norwegian Maritime Authority, Burn Free, Worldwide Ferry Association, CSmart Academy and MBNA Thames Clippers by launching the Passenger Ship Safety Southampton meeting with a dedicated lifesaving focus day.

Chaired by Andrew Winbow , Former Assistant Secretary-General and Director, Maritime Safety Division, International Maritime Organization (IMO), the meeting began with Turid Stemre, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Maritime Authority, providing a presentation on the IMO Polar Code (The international Code for ships operating in polar waters).

Turid highlighted the lack of an international understanding for the term ‘survival’. There was also a discussion from the results of a practical survival trial in low temperatures which had demonstrated that more work was required to be undertaken to clarify the standards that should be applied.

Prevention rather than cure was the message from Dr. Giulio Novarese, the Medical Director at industry leader Burn Free. The vast experience from military casualty situations was shared with the audience who left understanding the need to rapidly cool a burn first before applying other treatment.

Len Roueche, Executive Director, Worldwide Ferry Association, drew attention to the high loss of life on ferries in the developing world and the difficulty of gaining reliable information due to underreporting.  He drew attention to the work of his association and Interferry in responding to the situation through design competitions for your naval architects, technical assistance from established ferry companies and training.

The proactive response of the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency was demonstrated in the afternoon with Richard Pellew, Acting Director, UK Ship Register. The audience learnt the realistic, and robust, emergency exercised deployed by the MCA and testing ‘software’ of ship operations (crew on board and management ashore) was a real key to their success.

Hans Hederstrom, Managing Director, CSmart Academy, described the background developments leading to the establishment of the Academy and the benefits of learning events: both good and bad ones. He outlined the benefits of role-based bridge operations and the simulator based training and assessment supporting the competencies of deck and engineering officers, including annual proficiency assessments.  He stressed the value of the coach/mentor approach and the need for resilient organization.

The audience were shown two videos graphically demonstrating the work of RNLI crews and their lifesaving work by Howard Ramm, Maritime Standards and Performance Manager, RNLI. Howard drew attention to the persistently high loss of life due to drowning every year (200 in UK and Ireland) and the work being done to raise awareness of the dangers through the water safety initiative. He provided actual evidence of the positive effect of that work on the safety of fishermen and the risks to emergency services of Medevac activities.

Wireless sensors and the specialist use of drone technology was demonstrated by Dr. Jesus Mediavilla Varas, Lead Specialist, Lynceus Project, to monitor and track personnel through armbands, smartcards and even suitably equipped lifejackets.  The use of specialist drone technology could extend the location ability of the equipment some distance from a ship.

The focus day concluded with Sean Collins, CEO, MBNA Thames Clippers, describing the special requirements for the operation of high speed craft on the River Thames, London, UK and the challenges of building to the HSC Code, including meeting the requirement for a low wash in shallow draft situations. Sean shared with the audience how the rapid expansion of passenger numbers over the last 10 years and the commensurate expansion of the fleet had provided opportunities for staff through in-house training regimes and in-house promotion – 97% of vacancies had been filled internally.

Passenger Ship Safety Southampton runs until 06th April 2017.

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