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September 2011 | | telegraph | 29 SEAFARER TRAINING

Safety first for spaces

Nautilus has backed a new training package which aims to stop the dreadful death toll of seafarers in enclosed spaces onboard ships…

Capt Mike Lloyd and Videotel director Stephen Bond launch the new training fi lm L

‘The whole idea is to save lives. If what we have done over the last two

years saves even one life, then all the money and all the effort will have been worth it.’ Former NUMAST Council member Captain Mike Lloyd is passionate about his involve- ment in the development of a new training package that seeks to cut the seemingly endless death toll of seafarers in enclosed spaces. He has played a key role in the

production of the series Entry into Enclosed Spaces, jointly pro- duced by Videotel Marine Interna- tional and Mines Rescue Marine. The initiative was partly

sparked by his personal experi- ences and partly by the tragic death of three seafarers in a chain locker onboard the UK-registered emergency response and rescue vessel Viking Islay in September 2007.

‘I lost a good friend on my fi rst

trip to sea. We had been given the job of cleaning a tank of palm oil and he went off ahead of us before we fi nished our coffee — and when we got there and looked down, he had collapsed. ‘The fact that enclosed spaces are still killing people some 50 years on is unacceptable,’ Capt Lloyd added. ‘When I read the fi g- ures about the number of seafar- ers dying in enclosed spaces, I got a group of captains together and we agreed that we could not allow this to continue without saying something,’ Capt Lloyd said. ‘I didn’t realise then what a path it was going to lead us to travel down.’

A scene from the Videotel fi lm stressing the need for strict pre-entry procedures and preparation

Eleven masters signed an open letter to Lloyd’s List, expressing concern at fi gures showing 93 fatalities in enclosed spaces since 1997. They stressed the need to tackle a lack of knowledge, train- ing and understanding of the dangers, as well as the importance of providing and using personal protective equipment or rescue equipment.

Their protest was also to serve as one of the catalysts for the production of the Videotel fi lm. Within the space of just 18 months, the company put together a detailed package aimed at both seafarers and shore-based staff. ‘There is no excuse for the unac- ceptable casualties we have seen recently,’ said Videotel deputy chairman Stephen Bond. ‘Again and again we hear of seafarers coming to grief in enclosed spaces. These incidents could have been

avoided by an understanding of the dangers of entering enclosed spaces and the critical impor- tance of following proper proce- dures. We are convinced that the Entry into Enclosed Spaces train- ing series will help save lives.’


Nautilus International has supported the pro- duction of the series and

senior national secretary Allan Graveson told the launch event that the Viking Islay incident had highlighted failings in regulation and training and has resulted in action by the UK and the Interna- tional Maritime Organisation. ‘However, I believe the regula-

tors have not moved suffi ciently,’ he added, ‘and when the regula- tor fails the seafarer pays — with their lives. ‘We need to change training,

change regulation and change the equipment provided onboard ships,’ Mr Graveson stressed, ‘and Videotel is to be commended for this package, which will take train- ing to a higher level and which will make a real difference at sea.’ David Squire, secretary to the

Nautilus offi cial Allan Graveson tries the Mines Rescue Marine equipment

Marine Accident Investigators’ International Forum (MAIIF), said his organisation has highlighted the scale of the problem. ‘In many cases, training is inadequate and procedures are not followed,’ he pointed out, ‘and training may remain ineffective if it is not backed up by management com- mitment.’ Commodore Squire said that the IMO has established a cor- respondence group to review its recommendations on entry into enclosed spaces and new guid- ance is set to go before the IMO Assembly in November. The Videotel package consists of six programmes covering: awareness; preparation and pro- cedures; equipment; enclosed spaces entry; emergency proce-

dures and rescue; and the correct use of breathing apparatus.


There is a big focus on recognising enclosed spaces onboard ship,

as well as the dangers of oxygen defi ciency — the most common cause of death in confi ned spaces. The programme stresses the need for rigorous entry procedures and the need to use the right PPE, breathing apparatus and commu- nications equipment. It is supported by comprehen-

sive written material, including case studies and student exercises, and is available in a range of for- mats — interactive CD-ROM, Vide- otel on Demand (VOD) and VHS/ DVD, with supporting booklets.

The series was put together with Mines Rescue Marine — a company formed by Mines Res- cue Service, which has more than a century of experience in pro- viding escape and rescue support to underground coalmines in the UK. ‘This experience has proven invaluable in helping to construct the training pro- gramme, ensuring it is both real- istic and practical,’ Mr Bond said. Capt Lloyd said he is con- vinced the programme will suc- ceed in its objectives. ‘There is a need for more training — realis- tic training,’ he stressed. ‘More people are killed in enclosed spaces than in most of the other things that training and drills are done for.’

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