Emergency organization on the ship

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Always a ship was potentially dangerous place for the people on board. The situations very often arise when crew has to deal with an emergency to save their vessel or human’s life. An emergency may arise both de to perils of sea and due to any human’s errors or omissions. Nevertheless not depending on the source of emergency only due to rapid response actions and cooperative efforts of crew members an emergency situation can be coped with. For the purpose of emergency preparedness which involves deep understanding of emergency duties by every crew member the EMERGANCY ORGANIZATION is introduced on board each ship.

The ship’s emergency organization comprises all members of the ship’s crew. E/O at sea and such organization in port differ from each other. It may be accounted both by difference in watch keeping organization at sea and in port and by the greater possibilities to effectively deal with an emergency at port than t sea.

The E/O is centered on an emergency squad which comprises a number of selected officers and ratings which will take any actions necessary and possible to deal with an emergency. Each designated member of such squad is assigned to special duties. Although their actions are largely governed by the circumstances but their principal functions are to provide technical support. On sounding the emergency station signal or fire alarm the emergency squad shall muster at the emergency headquarters from which position they will collect necessary equipment.

The Chief Officer is normally in charge of emergency squad when tackling emergences outside of the E/R and the Second Engineer takes charge of emergences within machinery spaces. The final composition of the emergency squad is always rested with the Master. The members of squad are chosen from the most experience and suitable officers and ratings. The squad must be chosen so that at least 4 officers were available to muster at the EHQ at any given time. The emergency squad, support squad, first aid and provisions squad are formed on board as a rule.

Support squad is under the supervision of a Deck Officer and its main function is to provide support and back up for the emergency squad. This squad musters at a nominated spot adjacent to the life boats and close to a suitable means of communication with the Bridge.

The main duties are to:

  • Supply extra equipment to the emergency squad;
  • Provide extra or substitute manpower;
  • Conduct boundary cooling or boundary starvation;
  • Prepare lifeboats and life rafts if required.

First Aid and Provision Squad comprises all members of the catering staff. The Chief Steward or Cook is in charge of this squad. The squad musters outside the hospital and the main its duties are the transportation and treatment of casualties as well as supply with extra water and blankets the life craft.

     Before leaving port, the Master should arrange for emergency stations to be allocated to everybody on board. The stations, emergency duties and alarms shall be recorded on the MUSTERLIST, which must be displayed on the Bridge, in the E/R, in the accommodation and in other accessible places. It gives details of the emergency alarm signals and location of the muster stations. It must be kept up-to-date. To ensure that everyone understands his duties regular drills must be held. Muster list also special duties of Fire-fighting and Life-boat preparation Party. For all key personnel substitutes must be specified. The designated GMDSS operator for external communication and the person responsible for communication equipment, EPIRB, SART and LSA in emergency situation is also indicated in Muster list. Usually it will be the Safety Officer.

EMERGENCY HEADQUARTERS are established in the accommodation or other places which are likely to be cut off by fire or smoke as well as afford reasonable access to upper deck, accommodation and E/R. EHQ contains necessary emergency equipment.

The Master is in overall command of the emergency and normally proceeds to the Bridge whether the ship is at sea or in port. But should the Bridge be inaccessible an alternative command position shall be established. A nominated Deck Officer goes to the Bridge, if not already on watch, to take over navigation duties and assist the Master.

The watch keeping Engineer Officer and ratings remain on watch. Any other personnel in the E/R proceed to their emergency stations.

The information about location of emergency equipment, emergency station signals, emergency instructions and details of drills are specified on the EMERGENCY PLAN.

The most effective way to cope with emergency is to take regular drills. 

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