Casualty Response Guidelines
Norwegian Hull Club recently published a new edition of its H&M Casualty Response Guidelines. You can always access the latest version on our website, and searchable lists of correspondents and vessels that are updated every night.
H&M Casualty Response - Introduction
Marine Insurance is divided into two main categories, Hull & Machinery (H&M) and Protection & Indemnity (P&I). P&I is subsidiary to H&M and is your liability insurance. H&M covers your property. However, the division between H&M and P&I insurance is not clear-cut. For instance, when it comes to collisions and contact damages on fixed or floating objects, your H&M insurer would normally be liable for the damages done. This depends on the insurance conditions under which your vessel is entered.
This text is by no means intended to reduce the shipowners’ area of authority, nor is it our intention to limit the master’s authority or freedom of action. Requirements and procedures in the owners’ instructions take precedence.
Norwegian Hull Club emphasises that nothing in this guide should hinder, delay or obstruct the obvious focus on the safety of the crew, which is by far paramount to rescuing property.
Key Correspondents have a regional responsibility as described in the table on the next page. A Local Correspondent will usually be the first representative from the underwriter to attend the vessel. In the event of a major casualty, a Key Correspondent may attend in addition to a Local Correspondent.
In order to handle any H&M casualty – wherever it may take place – it is our goal that the correspondent should assist and collaborate with the Master and his crew, the owner or his shipmanager/superintendent in the best way possible.
If a Master contacts a key or local correspondent directly, they will ensure that NHC is informed accordingly and that all claims handling formalities are initiated.
Go to H&M Correspondents page (black markers indicate Key Correspondents)
Advice to the Master in Case of Average
In the following pages we will address a few key issues. The content is abbreviated and is by no means complete, and primarily intended for the initial phase of a situation. As stated above, company procedures always take precedence, but we trust that the content may serve as a useful supplement to company procedures in an emergency situation.
When a casualty has occurred or is imminent, the owners are to be notified immediately. To notify the vessel's H&M insurers please contact Norwegian Hull Club or one of our Key- or Local Correspondents directly. Depending on the urgency of the matter, you may also notify us on our emergency phone number. If e-mail is used for notification purposes, it should be followed by a phone call in order to ensure immediate attention.
A timely notification will enable NHC to be of assistance. Our network of specialists and correspondents around the world will be ready to support the master. The consequences of not reporting an incident may be dire. According to insurance conditions, you are obliged to notify your underwriter without undue delay.
Immediate notification of the Master, especially in collision cases, is vital. Time is of the essence in order to safeguard your position. When considering notifying the insurer about a casualty, the master should also keep in mind whether the vessel carries a Loss of Hire insurance and notify accordingly.
Go to Emergency Page
A notification should include the following information:
- Name of the vessel
- IMO no.
- Position, port, time and date of casualty
- Type and extent of damages
- When and where a survey can be arranged
- Details regarding the vessel’s local agent
To ensure proper handling of an insurance claim the logbooks on board are important sources of information. When a casualty has occurred or threatens to occur, proper notes should be made in the logbooks according to company procedure. The logs are official documents and can be legally important. Never scribble over or erase a wrongful entry in the logbook, just draw a single line through it.
We also encourage the master to ensure that relevant officers, as soon as possible, write a more specific Statement of Facts in order to describe a casualty.
§ 3-1: The Surveyor's Role
Surveyors are usually appointed by NHC based on the notification from the Master through Owners/Shipmanagers. Surveyors can also be appointed directly by the Master from the List of Correspondents, if the urgency of the situation requires it.
The surveyor has multiple roles. He will assess the extent of the damages and report his findings. He will also follow up on the progress of the repairs. In addition to being NHC’s representative on site, the surveyor is also an asset for the Master. The surveyor can normally assist the Master with knowledge of local repair facilities, port conditions and authorities. It is recommended to note the name of the attending surveyor in the logbook, cf. section on "Collision" below.
An attending surveyor will request a number of documents for his report.
The most commonly requested documents are:
- relevant log book pages for engine and deck
- crew list
- ship’s particulars
- class documents concerning the average
- maintenance reports
- service reports
As stated in the section on collisions, it is important to verify the identity of the surveyor and who he is representing prior to granting him access to the vessel. The vessel should normally be informed about his name prior to attendance.
Key points to survey:
- If possible, do not repair damages prior to survey being conducted.
- Do not discard damaged parts until surveyed.
- Photos are always useful, especially if damages have to be repaired prior to survey.
When damages relate to third party matters, surveys should preferably be arranged so that representatives from all parties can be present. Make sure you receive instructions from Owners on how a joint survey should be conducted. Opponent surveyors should only be granted access to the physical damages. The circumstances of the damages should not be discussed.
§ 3-2: Salvage
When a casualty has occurred, the Leading Underwriter’s experience, contacts in salvage companies in all waters and network of agents are at the Master’s disposal. Co-operation with the Owners and Leading Underwriter should be established as early as possible.
This co-operation and assistance that can be rendered from shore must be based on information from the vessel. Send a complete report to the Owners as soon as possible, detailing all information that may be of importance in assessing the situation. This includes the vessel’s exact position, description of the occurrence, information about the weather conditions and the cargo, etc.
It is essential to include in the report the steps have been taken so far and what, in the Master’s judgement, should be done to salve the vessel. Of particular interest in this regard is the Master’s opinion about the efficiency of the available local assistance. This information is necessary to ensure speedy and effective assistance to the vessel.
A salvage contract should not be signed until the Owners’ Leading Underwriter has been notified about the situation. Should the vessel be in imminent danger and salvage operations imperative without opportunity or time to contact the Owners, then sign a contract on the best possible terms with a salvor who is able to render adequate assistance. If a NO CURE - NO PAY contract is required, we recommend Lloyd’s Standard Form of Salvage Agreement, ref next page.
When the salvage has been completed a report must be prepared detailing the following:
- all circumstances in connection with the casualty, including vessel position, times of the separate stages of the salvage operation, weather conditions, etc.
- information about the salvors, their equipment, efficiency, efforts, damage sustained by them and any risks they have run, etc.
The report to be sent to the Owners together with verbatim extracts from the vessel’s logbooks. The report will become an important document at the subsequent negotiations for determining the size of the salvage award.
§ 3.3: General Average
General Average law is codified in the York-Antwerp Rules, and has ancient traits. The YAR rules define GA as follows: "There is a general average act when, and only when, any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure."
The property involved in a common maritime adventure is typically vessel, cargo and bunkers.
Examples of General Average situations and General Average losses include:
- Situations where the vessel needs assistance from tugs or other vessels.
- Salvage situations, e.g. costs for tugs to refloat vessel after grounding, lightering and reloading costs to re-float the vessel.
- Machinery damages that influence the navigational safety where extraordinary costs are incurred for common safety.
- Damages to hull and machinery in connection with refloating, jettison/discharging/ lightering of cargo to lighten the vessel.
- Costs related to sacrificing cargo in order to save the vessel. The typical example is when cargo is jettisoned in order to save the vessel from sinking, or as part of a firefighting effort.
- Damages to vessel or cargo due to firefighting.
- Calling at port of refuge and detention at port of refuge.
- Costs of using the ship's equipment and crew wages during GA. This may also include running the main engine and other equipment for example in order to refloat the vessel.
On several occasions we have experienced vessels being in a general average situation without the Master being aware of it. A laden vessel is in a GA situation, or instance, if it approaches a harbour with escort tugs as per standard port procedure, and then experiences a temporary technical problem with the steering gear and requests the tug to make fast.
This may cause a problem for the shipowner if the Master discharges the cargo without obtaining security from the cargo owner(s). The problem arises when the tug owner claims for salvage. In such cases, the shipowner risks lacking a General Average Contribution from the cargo.
The above is meant to assist the Master in identifying General Average Situations. When the Master finds himself in a possible GA situation he should notify his Managers (and/or Hull & Machinery underwriter) for advice on how to proceed regarding the cargo. H&M usually covers General Average for the ship’s proportion.
Cargo must NOT be delivered to the receiver until the GA issues are sorted out and agreed upon. If a General Average is to be declared, the Owner’s next step will be to formally appoint a General Average Adjuster. It is his task to prepare the General Average Statement.
Average Bonds (cf. item 5d in this text) from the consignees must also be signed by the Cargo Underwriters. Average Bonds in which reservations are made must not be accepted.
If the cargo is uninsured, cargo owners should also provide a bank guarantee or pay a deposit as security for the cargo’s contribution before the cargo is delivered. Often the Average Agent will be able to assist and the Average Adjuster may give directives as to what form of security should be demanded in the given case.
If the cargo has been damaged, the Average Adjuster or Owners / Leading Underwriter will appoint a General Average Surveyor.
§ 3-4: Average bond
§ 3-5: Collision
Technical evidence from for example VDR, VTS, GPS, RADAR, ECDIS and machinery/engine control systems has become increasingly important. This evidence can be lost if it is not properly saved. The vessel should have pre-planned procedures for saving such data. If not, the manufacturer should be contacted immediately. However, it is still important that the crew witnessing a collision write down their observations as soon as possible. This should be done prior to discussing with other crew members.
The Master should make sure the following is properly noted:
- The exact time of the collision. In this connection it must be checked whether the clocks on the bridge and in the engine room are synchronised. Any differences must be noted.
- The vessel’s position, course, speed and propeller revolutions at the moment of the collision. Make note of what the course and speed recorders show at the moment of the collision.
- Exact points of time and description of the various rudder and engine manoeuvres immediately before and after the collision.
- An assessment of the visibility and weather conditions with a note of when and where signals were seen or heard.
- Observed manoeuvres of the other vessel before the collision. Calculations of CPA and TCPA.
- Estimate the angle of the blow, as well as the course and speed of the colliding vessel at the time of contact.
- Any communication with the other vessel, either on VHF, sound, shape or light signals, etc.
- Vessels in the vicinity that may have witnessed the collision should be noted.
The Owners must be informed of the occurrence as soon as possible after the collision. At the same time, give information about the weather conditions, damage to both vessels and the other vessel’s name and nationality. Limit the report to facts without referring to the question of liability, as all correspondence with the Owners must be produced in Court if demanded by Opponents (discovery documents).
Only when the vessel’s officers and crew members have had the opportunity to report to the Master what they have seen in connection with the collision should the actual sequence of events be described in the vessel’s logbooks. The description should be written by the person in charge on the bridge at the moment of the collision and approved by the Master.
In the majority of collision cases it may be necessary to appoint a solicitor to look after the vessel’s interests. The solicitor’s first task is to support the Master. When the vessel has reached a port, he will go on board to take statements from the witnesses. No one on board must express any opinion about the collision to outside parties or reply to questions from persons other than the solicitor instructed by the Owners or the Leading Underwriter.
If possible and if the circumstances so indicate, the Master should obtain an admission of liability from the colliding vessel, or at least have the Master of the other vessel sign the Collision Letter Form below or your company’s form for ”As Receipt Only”.
In case of a collision or striking in which a third party has sustained damages, the representative of the Leading Underwriter should be requested for survey and assistance. Liabilities to a third party due to causes other than collision and striking concerns the vessel’s P&I Underwriters.
After a collision it is of utmost importance to have strict control of the persons who board the vessel, and to deny unauthorised persons access to it. As previously stated it is common after a collision to arrange joint surveys with a surveyor who represents the other vessel. The surveyor should be allowed access only to the damaged area, and must be escorted at all times. During joint surveys the surveyor representing the other vessel shall not enter any other part of the vessel than what is strictly necessary to access the damaged area.
Information control is important. This has become increasingly difficult now that most crew members have their own mobile phone and access to e-mail. Managers should have pre-planned measures for their vessel to control information after a collision.
Please remember that this is just advice, and that requirements and procedures in the Owners’ Instructions take precedence. In emergency situations such as grounding, fire, collisions and flooding we wish to stress the importance of the actions taken in the first 30 minutes after an accident has occurred. During this period the Master will put down the building blocks that will govern whether a crisis is handled successfully or not.
For the Master it is important to remember the following:
- Sound the general alarm and muster the crew
- Notify owners/managers and request external assistance as necessary
- Handle the crisis to yours and the crew's best ability: now you will benefit from all your training. Use on-board procedures as your guide. Think worst-case.
The worst decision the Master may have to make is to abandon ship. Prepare for it and think this difficult decision through on sunny days. Your ship is often the best lifeboat.
In particular, pay attention to the time it takes to:
- muster crew and passengers
- close down the air supply and seal the affected area
- isolate the combustible material and remove hazardous and dangerous goods in the vicinity of the fire
- start the fire fighting with the right means for the given type of fire
Fires can be very different in nature, and therefore no attempt will be made in this booklet to issue specific advice to the Master and his crew.
However, there are two matters we would like to address:
- Even if there is great eagerness to reopen the area for inspection or other matters after a fire, DO NOT reopen the area unless you are sure the fire will not restart, OR you have the necessary resources and equipment available to handle a possible restart of the fire. If possible, seek advice from owners/managers and/or fire specialists.
- Conservation after a fire: We will try to give a brief introduction and advice for preserving equipment that may have been affected by the fire itself, and/or by the acids that develop and attach to the equipment and/or components on board.
The lists enclosed at the end of this chapter are kindly submitted to us by ISS, one of our consulting partners that assist us in fire damages and fire control.
§4-2: Marine Damage Control
Electronics – Electrical – Machinery
First aid after fire damage can be carried out by ship crew.
Electronics – Electrical – Machinery
First aid after fire on stainless steel can be carried out by the ship crew.
Contamination from PVC
This is a brief guide to the cause of corrosion due to fire damage by PVC.
When PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is heated to a temperature exceeding approximately 180 degrees centigrade the process of separating and releasing of the different substances including hydrochloric gas starts to take place.
Hydrochloride gas follows smoke and air flow. Gradually the temperature decreases further away from the actual fire area. When the temperature falls to approximately 100 degrees centigrade, the gas will condense. Especially on cold surfaces such as metal and in combination with air humidity, the gas becomes hydrochloric acid.
If there is a significant concentration of hydrochloric gas and moisture in the same area, a strong corrosive attack on plain metals will develop. The higher the humidity the more severe the corrosion becomes. In a worst-case scenario the damage may be catastrophic within days if no action is taken.
Chloride Analysis and Project Management
It is important to call ISS Damage Control Norway for chloride analysis and project management upon any suspicion of hydrochloric acid and as soon as possible. We have portable analysis kits and experienced project managers who can carry out assignments worldwide.
First aid can be carried out by the ship’s crew as follows:
- Lower the air humidity below 35% RH. This stops the corrosion.
- Apply preservation oil so that the chlorides are sealed from air or moisture.
Chlorides are water-soluble and can be neutralised in a water-based alkaline detergent cleaning process. These tasks can be managed and carried out by ISS Damage Control.
When evaluating the analysis results it is important to be aware that a high concentration of chlorides cannot be solely credited to the damage situation.
Sea salt or working with salt acid, chlorine or chemicals containing chlorine may cause a high chlorine concentration, which is normal. This concentration must be taken into account before judging the effect from the fire damage.
The following figures from our experience can be used for evaluation:
§4-3: Emergency Anchorage
Unfortunately there are examples of vessels drifting aground with either one or two anchors secured in the hawse pipe. There is rarely any excuse for this.
Below we have listed a few key points for the Master’s consideration, assuming that the vessel is drifting towards shoals, and is unable to make way with neither main engines or thrusters. Needless to say, proper maintenance of the ground tackle can prove to be vital in such a situation.
The Master should consider the following the in case of emergency anchorage:
- It is preferable to deploy the starboard anchor first, as the chain is longer. But the threat of the situation should not be underestimated, and the Master should consider going ”all the way” and deploy both anchors. Nothing should be left untried.
- Consider ocean bottom topography, and check the chart for underwater pipelines and other obstructions. Search for the best holding ground along the course the ship is drifting.
- It is not wise to let out the entire chain early and hope that the anchor will fasten when the depth decreases. This should only be done when it is very deep all the way, or close to the shoreline, as the anchor may be damaged using this approach. Another pitfall with this method is that you might lose the anchor due to difficulties when braking.
- It might be wise to use the windlass under power to veer out the anchor in a controlled manner, if auxiliary power is available and there is enough time, if auxiliary power is available and there is enough time. But bear in mind that if the wave height causes the vessel to pitch, the anchor may be damaged if it hooks fast upon hitting the bottom. Take into consideration whether the bottom conditions are rocky or uneven.
- The cable length-to-depth ratio should be as large as possible. A ratio of 5 to 1 is very good, but bear in mind that the ship should not get too close to shore.
- Avoid heaping the cable at the bottom.
- Also deploy the port anchor, as this will provide a more balanced holding power. Deploy the port anchor after having veered 2–3 shackles on the starboard anchor. Then carefully veer maximum cable on both anchors
NHC has longstanding relationships with towage brokers with networks all around the world. This enables us to give our clients efficient and professional support.
The Master should consider the following when a tug is underway:
- Secure the propeller.
- Secure rudder amidships (if cannot be used).
- If fitted with quick-release brackets, check to see if they are working smoothly.
- Ensure power on windlass and that windlass works. Have numerous heaving lines and strong messenger ropes handy on forecastle.
- Forward a plan of the forecastle showing location of bitts/bollards, quick-release brackets, fairlead rollers and panama fairleads to owners/underwriters/tugbrokers/tugmaster.
- Try to increase the trim by the stern.
- Check that navigation lights for towing are working (side lights and stern light) and that the ’diamond’ shape is ready for hoisting.
- Liaise closely with the Tugmaster in planning the towing connection.
- Have officers and crew briefed on the connection plan.
- Once rigged, keep a close watch on the towage connection, the bollards and bitts and under deck, if possible, to ensure deck fittings are still secure.
- Keep a close watch on where the towing connection passes through the ship's side or fairleads, greasing as required and keeping an eye out for distortion, cracks etc.
- Maintain close communications with the tug boat.
After a grounding it is important to stay calm and not panic, but assess the situation and take rational action. If possible, seek help from owners/managers, cf. ”Assistance” below. The temptation of trying to immediately refloat a vessel after grounding should be avoided unless the vessel and crew is in imminent danger.
Refloating attempts should be based on a thorough salvage plan and take place in a controlled manner. The Master should not attempt to refloat the vessel unless he is confident that it will be successful and that the safety of his crew is maintained. A failed re-floating attempt may cause additional damage to the vessel, and lessen the chances of subsequent success.
Items to Consider
Crew safety is the top priority. The crew should be mustered as per standard procedure. This also applies for notifications to relevant authorities and the owner. Establish communications.
The items below should be considered in a grounding situation. As stated above, all of them are not relevant in all situations.
Obtain an overview of the situation and make a damage assessment. It is a common mistake to underestimate the damages. Remember, you have the highest likelihood of success if you prepare for the WORST-CASE SCENARIO. When time allows, sounding of tanks should be conducted in order to establish if any of the tanks have been breached.
Stabilise the Vessel
Stabilise the vessel to avoid further damages and stop the vessel from drifting further aground. The use of ballast tanks and anchors are the most common means. Shifting of cargo may also be considered. Bending moment and shear stresses should be calculated in order to avoid inflicting damage to the vessel.
Vessel Position on the Seabed
How does the vessel rest on the seabed? How deep is the water is around the vessel? Take sounding around the vessel. It is recommended to make a sketch of the results. Special attention should be drawn to whether the propeller and rudder are free from any obstructions. It should be self-explanatory that there is great risk involved in trying to refloat using own engines without having investigated the above.
Try to obtain information about the seabed composition – is it made up of sand, mud or rocks?
What actions are possible to avoid contaminating the environment? Consider transferring bunkers and cargo from exposed areas. Notify authorities of any spills.
After a grounding the Master may quickly find himself in a very pressured situation. Unless the threat is imminent, it is strongly recommended that the Owners and/or insurers are contacted prior to allowing external assistance.
Owners and insurers will consider employing a Salvage Master and naval architect in a grounding situation. Your ship may also have membership in an emergency response service that will be mobilised. They will assist with the necessary calculations regarding buoyancy, damage stability, stresses etc. in order to increase the chance of success.
For U.S. waters, refer to U.S. regulations.
- Tidal range
- Weather forecast
- Sea state
On rare occasions, seamen also experience a flooded engine room, which may seriously affect the vessel’s stability and buoyancy, and obviously the mechanical and electronic equipment located there. There is a range of possible scenarios here, and thus we will offer advice on what may be considered banal.
The remedy for flooding by seawater is simple and basic: flush with freshwater, dry, clean and preserve. Again, you should seek advice from owners/managers .
The ISS has kindly allowed us to refer to their list of action for the crew, this time in case of seawater damage or flooding:
Marine Damage Control
Electronics – Electrical – Machinery
First aid following seawater damage can be carried out by the ship crew.
Electronics – Electrical – Machinery
First aid on drowned machinery damage can be carried out by ship crew.
§4-7: Guidelines to the Chief Engineer
The importance of ensuring that the ship's engines are operating with high quality lubricating oil at all times is obvious for any engineer on board. This is emphasised in the Norwegian Marine Insurance Plan. The insurance conditions offer an all-risk coverage with specific exceptions, one of them being running the engines with contaminated lubricating oil.
Damage to machinery resulting from contamination of lubricating oil, cooling and feed water is not recoverable under the insurance policies of the vessel, unless the damage could not have been avoided by proper measures.
Section 12-5 (f) of the Plan of 1996 reads as follows:
"The insurers is not liable for:
(f) loss due to lubricating oil, cooling water or feed water becoming contaminated, unless proper measures were taken as soon as possible after the assured, the Master or the Chief Engineer became, or must be deemed to have become, aware of the contamination, and in any event not later than three months after one of them should have become aware of the contamination."
In order to ensure the safe operation of the vessel and to protect Owner’s interests, we urge the Chief Engineer to:
- Carry out proper measures immediately upon discovery of such contamination and log them for documentation/verification. Corrective action is vital in relation to the words "must be deemed to have been aware of" in section 12-5 (f).
- Check and monitor the quality of the lubricating oil and feed water. Discuss the findings with the analysing company as considered necessary to understand the impact of the condition of the lube oil / feed water as given from the analysis.
- Establish and remove the source of the contamination - or take steps to improve the quality of the lubricating oil or feed water.
Note that section 12-5 (f) applies to all machinery including:
- main engine
- auxiliary engine
- reduction gear
- hydraulic equipment
- thermal heating plants
- refrigerating machinery and other machinery that may sustain damages as a result of such contamination
Blocking of the cooling water compartments or intake by sand, mud or salt is treated as equal to contamination due to mixture of such materials caused by internal or external leakages.
The three-month period is an absolute deadline, not an excuse to postpone any measures or steps that can be taken immediately. A cleaning operation is only "proper" if it is done thoroughly with full access to the engine or component. Tanks, crank cases and sumps, as well as refrigeration chambers and the water side of steam producers, must be drained and cleaned, and pipes must be examined and/or flushed as necessary.
Lube oil purifiers are to be kept in good working condition with correct operational parameters in order to provide maximum performance. Any filters are to be operated, checked and cleaned according to makers’ instructions and at sufficient intervals for them to perform optimally.
Inform and consult the Owners/Manager for their advice as early as possible in order to ensure that proper measures are taken.
§4-8: Operating in Icy Waters
Prior to sailing into the cold area the following should be checked:
1. Pipelines containing water:
- On outside decks and in compartments/holds without heating, all pipelines must be drained carefully to avoid damage by freezing.
- Check also fire lines and cooling water lines (hydraulic systems) for instance in forecastle.
- Check the cooling systems for emergency generators and lifeboat engines. If freshwater-cooled, check the freezing point. Drain the seawater system.
- Check the emergency fire pump if situated in a room without heating. Add antifreeze to the pump housing and suction line if needed to be kept with water.
- After draining lines, keep outside deck valves open and close any valve inside (to avoid flooding when starting up).
2. Ballast tanks must not be filled completely to avoid freezing
- In general, pump out minimum 10% after filling (consider the possible free water surface effect of the vessel’s stability).
- Be aware that the tank ventilation deck valve and ventilation pipe could freeze and hamper the free airflow to and from the tank resulting in over/under pressure of the tank.
- Side tanks containing ballast are much more exposed to freezing in extreme weather, especially when installed above the water line. Great care should be taken if any water is required to be kept in side tanks. If possible side tanks should be kept empty, or only partly filled if necessary.
- Change the ballast for clean seawater if tanks contain freshwater or brackish water.
- Check the chain lockers for water and pump out prior to reaching the cold area.
3. Seawater inlet suctions:
- Check if there is a possibility to partly circulate the sea cooling water outlet from the machinery back into the sea chest to keep this heated.
- Check and test if there is air supply connected to sea chest in order to blow out ice if necessary.
- Check if steam can be supplied to your sea chest for heating in case freezing starts.
- To minimize ice sludge accumulation in the seawater inlet strainer, adjust the overboard valve and reduce the water to minimum flow required to obtain cooling.
- Use one inlet only, preferably the lower one, and keep the other on stand-by.
- Oil systems will work very slowly under extreme cold. If equipped with oil heating element this must be switched on. If not temporary heating could be arranged by using portable heaters at the oil tank.
Start oil systems prior to operation and run without cooling until proper temperature is reached.
- Hatch covers, emergency exits and watertight doors fitted with rubber gaskets should be greased with Vaseline or silicon grease to avoid damage to the gaskets when opening.
- Freshwater tanks in lifeboats to have necessary ullage to avoid damage during freezing.
- Gas oil for lifeboat engines must be of a type suitable for cold weather to avoid wax formation.
- Gas oil for emergency generator must be of correct type for cold weather operation unless installed in heated area.
When entering the ice, please consider:
- Always keep minimum one lookout at the bridge.
- Consider additional officer on watch depending on visibility and weather conditions. In bad visibility one person will need to operate the radar at all times.
- Follow instructions given by local authorities / ice-breaker.
- Sailing alone in fixed ice might damage the vessel’s hull and shell plating depending on vessel strength and ice class. The ice thickness and vessel speed/power must be considered by the captain.
- Consider waiting for a convoy.
Sailing in a Convoy
- Sailings in an open lane, for instance by following other vessels or the ice-breaker in the convoy gives the minimum impact on the vessel’s hull.
- Make sure to find and use correct VHF channels for communication/information from the icebreaker and between convoy vessels.
- A danger of sailing in convoys is if one vessel gets stuck in the ice or stops in case of engine / cooling problems, it could be hit by the following vessel. In these circumstances the following vessel must keep a safe distance to be able to stop because she will not manage to leave the lane and swing into the fixed ice. Going astern with the propeller should be avoided.
- The stopping vessel must immediately inform the convoy on VHF that she has problems to avoid being hit from the aft (many accidents have occurred).
Manoeuvring in Ice
Manoeuvring in the port area is often the operation that causes damage to the vessel.
Always keep in mind:
- Use tugs for harbour manoeuvring to avoid using own propeller, especially astern operation.
- The trim of the vessel must be arranged to keep aft draft as deep as possible to minimise the ice hitting the propeller and rudder.
- Going astern will suck ice into the propeller that might damage the propeller blades.
- Rudder must always be kept in centre position if the vessel is to move astern at any speed. The pressure of the ice – even loose ice – can easily twist the rudder stock of any vessel, ice classed or not.
Alongside in Port
- Be careful when opening hatches and side doors if frozen. If possible, use steam or hot water to de-ice to avoid breaking hydraulic systems or damaging the rubber gaskets.
- A correct preparation as mentioned above (item 4) will reduce the possibilities of damage.
- Before closing, a thoroughly control of all sealing surfaces must take place to ensure that no ice is left in between which could hamper correct water tightness.