Q. With reference to “emergency preparedness”, discuss

a. Small fire in machinery spaces

b. Evacuation of critically injured personnel

c. Helicopter operations

d. Rescue from enclosed spaces

e. Abandon ship.


(a) Small Fire in machinery Space:-

  • Inform bridge
  • Shutdown ventilation if necessary

In port

1. Inform terminal on pre-agreed emergency channel

2. Cease all cargo operations

At sea

1. Stop main engine, if necessary

2. Make appropriate signals to local shipping

Damage control

1. Establish if any personnel missing from muster station

2. Preparation of fire fighting and gas protective equipment

3. Shutdown of potentially dangerous electrical systems or electrical systems near fire

4. Shutdown of non essential machinery

5. Requirement for external assistance

6. Inform Alert Team

7. Preparation of lifeboats/rafts evacuation of non-essential crew

8. Informing local authorities

9. Transmission of distress signals

10. Search and rescue missing personnel

11. Preparation of first aid equipment

12. Formulate damage control plan based on:

  • Immediate dangers to vessel and crew
  • Location and extent of fire
  • Possibility of extinguishing/containing fire

(b) Evacuation of critically injured personnel:-

1. Make the area around the injured person to avert further injuries.

2. Ensure that the respiratory passage is open.

3. If unconscious, with loss of respiration, loss of heart beat, give first aid, such as artificial respiration and heart compression. (CPR)

4. Stop serious bleedings. (Apply Pressure Bandages )

5. Arrange the injured in the stable side position.

6. Keep the injured warm.(TPA or Warm Blanket)

7. Do not move him unless in the position of danger.

8. Summon help.

Notification:-In cases of serious illness or injury the following parties must be notified. Immediately:

1. Head office (D.P.A) – who will contact the P & I club.

2. Maritime rescue co-ordination centre (MRCC) – who will contact shipping and other sources of assistance in the vicinity.

3. AMVER (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) – who will provide assistance & information regarding vessels in the vicinity with the qualified medical personnel on board. The MRCC will normally co-ordinate attempts to establish contact between the ship in need & the ship offering assistance.

4. MEDICO – Doctor’s advice by the radio can be obtained as per the British admiralty lists of radio signals. A request for help from ship in close proximity may be made either directly or via a coast radio station.

Information to be provided any source of medical assistance

1. Name, age and sex of patient

2. Vital signs – breathing frequency, temperature, pulse & blood pressure

3. Description of injury or symptoms of the illness

4. Medical history of patient, if considered relevant

5. Description of any treatment given on board

6. Whether the patient can walk

7. Position, course and speed of the ship

8. ETA next port/nearest harbour (port of refuge)

9. Weather in the area (wind direction/force, visibility, estimated cloud level, wave height)

(c) Helicopter Operation:-

Masters & all deck officers must be known with the ICS publication “Guide to helicopter/Ship operations”. This is placed on board every vessel. The Shipboard safety checklist contained in the guide must be completed prior to any helicopter operation. However, applicable items to be checked will vary, depending on the type of operation. Items to be checked will be comprehensive when there is a landing operation, less if a winching operation. Emergency operations will generally carried out by winching.


Communication between the helicopter & the vessel shall take place from the ship’s wheel house/bridge. 3-way communication between helicopter, the officer in charge at the hoisting area & the Master shall be provided for. A hand held VHF-apparatus with headset for the officer in charge at the hoisting area should be provided. For communication between the helicopter & the ship the maritime VHF-band should be used. Establish communications with the Helicopter according to the instructions given in the “Guide to helicopter/ship operations.

(d) Rescue from enclosed spaces:-

When an accident involving injury to personnel or the unconsciousness occurs in an enclosed space, the first action must be to raise the alarm. Speed is often vital in the interests of saving life, rescue operations should not be attempted till the required help & equipment has been mustered. There are many examples of lives being lost by hasty, ill-prepared rescue attempts.


1) Person standing by outside space informs duty officer on bridge, if contact lost with person(s) inside enclosed space.

2) Duty officer sounds emergency alarm. Makes an announcement on the P.A. system.

3) Master on bridge. Communications officer prepares for transmission.

4) Duty engineer in engine room.

5) All hands muster at stations as per emergency plan. Head count and report to bridge.

6) Collect relevant equipment and proceed to the scene of incident.

7) At entrance to the enclosed space, prepare resuscitation unit. When approved by Squad Leader, enter the space to effect rescue.

8) Responsible person outside the enclosed space to remain in communication with rescuers.

9) Other members of emergency squad are detailed to:

A. Carry/rig safety harness and rescue line at entrance, place spare SCBA’s and air bottles at entrance.

B. Improve ventilation in enclosed space, if possible, by opening more lids or starting additional fan(s).

C. Contact external assistance as required

10) First aid & stretcher team standing by:

First two persons on locating casualty, if necessary, place resuscitation unit on him. The safety harness is lowered down into the space and the casualty strapped in for hoisting. The casualty is then hoisted up using the rescue line, but requires to be guided so as not to cause injury. Alternatively, the casualty may be brought out on a stretcher, if this is more practicable. Once outside the space, the First Aid and Stretcher Team administer first aid & remove the casualty to  hospital. Efficient & constant communication between rescuers, entrance to space & bridge are important. Remember, a quick response is good for a successful rescue of a casualty suffering from lack of the oxygen. Permanent brain damage may occur if it is deprived of oxygen for more than 4 minutes

(e) Abandon Ship:-

The decision to abandon ship, either partially or totally, depends on an evaluation of

1. Present situation

2. Expected further developments in the situation

3. Possibilities of influencing situation positively

4. Consequences of no/insufficient improvement in the situation

5. Vessel’s buoyancy and damage stability

Immediate abandonment

1. Transmit distress signal

2. Alert shipping in the vicinity

3. Advise MRCC

4. Advise office alert team

5. Muster all persons on board (ship’s complement)

6. Search for missing persons

7. Select survival craft/liferafts

8. Prepare lifeboats/liferafts for launching

9. Embark stretcher cases

If situation permits manoeuvre vessel to facilitate abandonment, consider

1. Awaiting improved conditions/arrival of assistance

2. Possibilities of re-boarding vessel

3. Partial abandonment

After abandonment activate EPIRB and SARTS: If wreck afloat, remain in vicinity, If wreck is sinking:

– Keep well clear, Maintain position close to the ship’s intended route