A reader of this website asked, “what to do if there is dangerous goods spillage on deck”. After fire, Spillage of dangerous goods is most hazardous situation out at sea. Certain dangerous goods when spilled may lead to fire and other extreme hazards jeopardizing safety of vessel and her crew.
If spillage is observed from any container ship staff should immediately ascertain the properties of the goods involved and necessary precautions before initiating spillage control operations. Flammable liquids and flammable gas when leaked can result in fire/explosion causing grievous injury to crew and damage to ship.
The magnitude of effect from spillage depends on amount spilled and the properties of cargo also whether spillage has occurred on deck or under deck.
The importance of training of crew and their familiarity with contingency plan plays a vital role when dealing with spillage. Regular drills and exercises must involve the cargoes being carried during the voyage.
Most important aspect while dealing with dangerous goods spillage, whether on deck or under deck is safety of the emergency personnel.
Every vessel must have chemical protective suits, self-contained breathing apparatus and firefighter’s outfits according to Chapter II-2 of SOLAS convention.
Four steps to spillage response
- Identification of The Dangerous Goods Involved
SOLAS regulation VII/5 requires a special list, manifest or stowage plan setting forth the dangerous goods on board and the location thereof. This list or manifest will contain four-digit UN Number and other details of the goods including the container no. and stowage position. (To download FAL Form 7 visit https://tinyurl.com/y6us2rbv )
Identify UN Number of the spilled goods from column 10 of dangerous goods manifest, and EmS (Emergency Response Procedures for Ships Carrying Dangerous Goods (EmS Guide)) schedule from column 16 for fire and spillage response. Additionally, properties of the goods can be found in column 17 of dangerous goods list in chapter 3.2 of IMDG Code. For more information about the goods vessel can ask their respective office to provide safety data sheets, contact professional responders or manufacturer of the goods.
Utmost priority is safety of the personnel. When a spillage is noticed first action should be to find and rescue any victim affected by the spillage this may also involve rescuing persons from confined spaces and or elevated places.
Isolation can be achieved by limiting the number of personnel who may get exposed to the spilled cargo. One of the way to achieve this is roping or taping off dangerous area, sealing off ventilation, air conditioning which can stop penetration of dangerous vapours into the living and working spaces. Mater can alter the course of the vessel to keep the vapours away.
Response to spillage should be in accordance with spillage schedule in EmS guide. Prior to dealing with spillage or during spillage control vessel may seek advice from shore. Specialist advise may be sought from
- ship operating companies (e.g. designated persons);
- emergency information centres (such as CHEMTREC in the USA);
- specialized agencies;
- professional responders;
- port state authorities;
- fire brigades; and
- manufacturer of the products.
General Guidelines for SPILLAGE
- Think of safety first !
- Avoid any contact with dangerous substances. Do not walk through spilled liquids or dust (solids).
- Keep away from vapours or gases.
- Sound alarm.
- Keep the bridge and living quarters up wind if possible.
- Wear full protective clothing resistant to chemical attack and self-contained breathing apparatus.
- Locate stowage position of leaking cargo.
- Identify cargo.
- Obtain UN Numbers and the EmS SPILLAGE SCHEDULE of dangerous goods involved.
- Consider which measures of the EmS SPILLAGE SCHEDULE are applicable and should be followed.
- Be prepared to use the Medical First Aid Guide (MFAG).
- Contact the designated person of the company responsible for the operation of the ship to obtain expert advice on dangerous goods emergency response measures
There are 26 spillage schedules in EmS guide which are allocated to dangerous goods in column 15 of Dangerous Goods List in chapter 3.2 of IMDG Code.
The first EmS code refers to the relevant Fire Schedule (e.g. Fire Schedule Alfa “F-A” General Fire Schedule).
The second EmS code refers to the relevant Spillage Schedule (e.g. Spillage Schedule Alfa “S-A” Toxic Substances).
Underlined EmS codes (special cases) indicate a substance, material or article for which additional advice is given in the emergency response procedures.
For dangerous goods offered for transport under N.O.S. entries or other generic entries, the most relevant emergency response procedures may vary with the properties of the hazardous constituents. As a consequence, shippers may have to declare different EmS codes from those indicated, if, to their knowledge, such codes are more appropriate.
- S . A TOXIC SUBSTANCES
- S . B CORROSIVE SUBSTANCES
- S . C FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE LIQUIDS
- S . D FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS
- S . E FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS, FLOATING ON WATER
- S . F WATER SOLUBLE MARINE POLLUTANTS
- S . G FLAMMABLE SOLIDS AND SELF-REACTIVE SUBSTANCES
- S . H FLAMMABLE SOLIDS (MOLTEN MATERIAL)
- S . I FLAMMABLE SOLIDS (REPACKING POSSIBLE)
- S . J WETTED EXPLOSIVES AND CERTAIN SELF-HEATING SUBSTANCES
- S . K TEMPERATURE-CONTROLLED SELF-REACTIVE SUBSTANCES
- S . L SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE, WATER-REACTIVE MATERIAL
- S . M HAZARD OF SPONTANEOUS IGNITION
- S . N SUBSTANCES REACTING VIGOROUSLY WITH WATER
- S . O SUBSTANCES DANGEROUS WHEN WET (NON-COLLECTABLE ARTICLES)
- S . P SUBSTANCES DANGEROUS WHEN WET (COLLECTABLE ARTICLES)
- S . Q OXIDIZING SUBSTANCES
- S . R ORGANIC PEROXIDES
- S . S RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL
- S . T DANGEROUS GOODS WITH BIOHAZARD
- S . U GASES (FLAMMABLE, TOXIC OR CORROSIVE)
- S . V GASES (NON-FLAMMABLE, NON-TOXIC)
- S . W OXIDIZING GASES
- S . X EXPLOSIVE ITEMS AND ARTICLES
- S . Y EXPLOSIVE CHEMICALS
- S . Z TOXIC EXPLOSIVES