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Collision accident & emergency response for liquefied gas carriers
In the event of a collision many of the actions to take will depend upon the seriousness of the
damage inflicted to either or both of the vessels involved. For example the collision may only
involve a glancing blow where the structural damage is superficial, or it might be more serious and
followed by a fire, explosion, serious pollution, stranding or foundering, with the possibility of crew
overboard, seriously injured or even killed.
No matter what the eventual outcome of the collision may be, there are several actions that should
be initially carried out by ships staff in the event of any collision. These are listed below.
Action to be taken by the bridge team:
- Sound the General Alarm and follow this with a public address announcement regarding the
- Muster all personnel and check for injured persons or any that are missing. Advise the
Bridge of the outcome of the muster.
- Contact the Engine room and advise them of the situation and get an initial report of any
damage or leaks that are apparent.
- Stop engines and engage manual steering (start 2nd steering motor). However, bear in
mind the immediate navigation situation. (Other traffic, proximity to shoal patches or other
hazards). It may be preferable to maintain minimum steerage way at this stage with hand
steering possibly engaged.
- Give the instruction to close any ballast hatches etc. that may be open, to maintain the
watertight integrity of the vessel.
- At night turn on the deck lights; however, again bear in mind the navigation situation.
- Utilise VHF Ch16 to advise other ships in the immediate vicinity of the collision using
security or Pan Pan. N.U.C. signals may have to be displayed depending on the situation.
- Ensure that the GMDSS equipment has vessel current position entered, and then send
notification of the collision to the nearest MRCC or coast station. Also contact DPA using
initial contact via telephone, if DPA not available then other members of the control group
should be contacted. Contact details are available in the S.M.P.E.P. Appendix III.
- Contact the other vessel and ascertain if she requires assistance or needs us to standby her
and note protest.
- Prepare lifeboats for the evacuation of non-essential personnel.
- The following information should be recorded
a) Mark Engine Room Data logger
b) Mark Course Recorder
c) Note Time of Contact
d) Note Vessels Position
e) Note Bridge Times
f) Note Course & Speed at Time of Contact
g) Note Angle of Contact
h) Note Times of all Sound Signals Made and Heard
i) Check if other Vessels require Assistance or require our Vessels to Standby
j) Obtain particulars of other vessels
k) Hold other vessels responsible by Letter
l) Note Protest
m) Witnesses Names
n) Notify Anticipated Delay
- Endeavour to find out from other vessel the following information and likewise advise the
other vessel of our similar details:
a) Vessels name
b) Port of registry
c) Where from
d) Where bound
e) Owners / Charterers / agents
- Establish and enter the following in the Deck Operations Log, if not already noted:
a) Exact position of collision
b) Exact time of collision
c) Course and speed at time of contact
d) Angle of contact with other vessel
e) Details of any sound signals made or heard prior to the collision
f) Transcripts of any communications to or from the other vessel
g) Mark the course recorder chart with the time of collision
- Issue the other Master with a Letter holding him responsible for the collision.
- Make a record of all witnessing vessels / parties.
- As soon as practicable after the event all personnel on duty or directly involved in the
incident should submit to a drug and alcohol test
- Note Protest when vessel arrives at next port of call.
- Check that bridge and engine times noted for the time of contact and subsequent
movements agree. If they do not, make an entry in the Deck Operations Log and ER
Movement Book noting the disparity.
- Whilst all the above is being carried out there must, be someone who is keeping an
accurate and complete log of all that is occurring. In the absence of a direct order to the
contrary, the Third Officer shall compile the log and be responsible for its accuracy.
Remember, at an enquiry this log account of the happenings will provide one of the
strongest pieces of evidence for or against us. So let’s get it correct. Any mistakes or
alterations shall be crossed out using only a single line and initialled by the officer making
the change. Erasing or ‘Tippexing’ out entries must not be attempted
- When the various information has been received from local control, an updated report
including the vessels ‘Voyage Stability Information’ must be sent to the managing office.
Note that an updated copy of the vessel stability and stress information, must be made
available after every cargo, ballast or bunker operation, and must be updated periodically
on extended voyages where there is any significant change in cargo or bunkers.
Action to be taken by deck department:
- Other members of the ships complement should be checking and reporting in to the bridge
control centre on the following information:
- Check all have mustered
- If necessary start water pump sprays.
- The watertight integrity of the hull. This information may be obtained by visual means and
by manually sounding all spaces, tanks and compartments, both on deck and in the engine
- The integrity of the cargo and its associated systems including hydraulics pipelines and fuel
- Check for any signs of leakage of LNG into the interbarrier spaces. (Indications may be
given by gas detection alarms or low temperature alarms or high-pressure alarms). Also
check and record all levels in tanks.
- As appropriate to type of vessel, check for signs of water penetrating the interbarrier and
insulation spaces. (Indications may be Interbarrier bilge high level alarms with increased
boil off and rising cargo tank pressures).
- When the following has been ascertained inform bridge as to the structural condition of
- Ascertain whether there have been any internal oil spills (bunkers and lub-oils.) or any
overside pollution. (Should there be any pollution or the likelihood of pollution, vessel is
required to notify the facts to the nearest coastal authorities.
Action to be taken by engine room department
In the machinery spaces a collision if small may not be noticed and the engineers will rely on the
bridge to inform them that one has taken place. If however a bump is heard or felt in the
machinery space then the bridge is to be informed immediately.
The procedures to be followed by the engineers in the event of any collision are as follows.
- If a bump was felt or heard in the machinery space notify the bridge immediately.
- If the Alarm is sounded report to your respective muster points.
- Change the engine room plant over to standby manoeuvring conditions.
- Carry out an inspection of the machinery spaces and asses any damage particularly with
respect to integrity of the hull, oil tanks, water tanks and dry spaces.
- Damage to any machinery or pipe systems should also be looked for.
- Sound all tanks and double bottoms and check for losses or ingress of water.
- Make relevant notes in the E.R. Log book.
Collision with no apparent rupture of cargo
The ability of the vessel, and in particular, the cargo containment system to survive a collision by
absorbing the energy of a colliding vessel is dependent on many factors including the colliding
ship’s size, displacement, speed and angle and point of contact. Independent analysis made by
various parties and Classification Societies during the design of LNG vessels have estimated that
the most critical are the side-on collision (90° approach of colliding vessel) with a bulbous bow
If a collision is unavoidable and it is possible to reduce the angle of impact from 90° to a more
oblique angle, the survivability of the vessel and the cargo containment system will significantly
Following a collision:
- If the vessel lists sharply, then it is likely that a ballast tank(s) or other spaces have been
breached in the vicinity of the contact and flooding has occurred.
- Whether the vessel lists or not, all soundings should be checked immediately and the gas
detection system closely monitored.
- If the inner hull has been breached, all available means should be employed to keep the
secondary insulation space pumped dry of water to prevent degradation of the insulation
- Regularly monitor the primary insulation space for possible primary membrane leakage. If
gas leakage is detected, increase the nitrogen sweep through the primary insulation.
- Attempts to right the vessel should only be made after advice from the managing office has
been received. In critical circumstances, righting of the vessel may be attempted utilising
the information available in the “Damage Stability Booklet” taking care to avoid overstressing
of the vessel.
- Only essential personnel should be allowed on the deck.
- An urgency signal giving relevant details should be made to the local coastal authority and
to any vessels in the area. If the survivability of the vessel is in doubt, then a distress signal
should be made.
- A realistic assessment should be made of the ability of the vessel to remain afloat.
- If it is determined that the vessel is unlikely to survive, abandonment should be made in
- When it is certain that the vessel is safe and secure, offers of assistance should be made to
any other vessel involved in the casualty.
- The listing of the vessel may tend to give rise to panic amongst shipboard personnel. To
guard against this, it should be explained to all personnel at drills and exercises that LNG
vessels have a large reserve buoyancy and that a list resulting from a collision is not
necessarily cause for immediate danger.
- Officers should be aware of the causes of any list and the implication of a list due to
asymmetrical buoyancy or weight and of a loll due to a loss of stability.
- Where necessary Ship to Ship transfer of cargo will be arranged by the managing office. In
such cases, procedures referenced in the ICS/OCIMF/SIGTTO publication Ship to Ship
Transfer Guide (Liquefied Gases) should be followed.
Collision accident and immediate action
1) Raise general alarm
2) Muster the crew to check if anybody is missing or injured
3) Stop cargo operations. Activated ESDS
4) Sound bilges and tanks
5) Advise the terminal
6) Consider - release loading arms (PERC system)
7) Consider - leave terminal
8) Treat injured crew/personnel
9) Check damage to the vessel and evaluate the situation
10) If necessary, start bilge pumps and ballast pumps
11) Keep the ship upright as far as possible in case of flooding of ballast tanks, by ballasting or de-ballasting to other tanks
12) Consider - external assistance. Rescue operations
13) Evaluate possibility to abandon vessel
14) Establish contact with other vessel, and exchange relevant information
15) Offer your assistance if possible to other vessel
16) Collect all facts about the occurrence
17) Consider - send distress signal including vessel position
18) Evaluate risk of pollution
19) Consider - loss of stability. Determine stability and bending moments/shearing force by the loading calculator
20) Supply inert gas to hold spaces for inerting hold spaces if necessary
21) Start water curtain
22) Consider - discharge cargo to sea (Jettisoning nozzle, advisable to run two cargo pumps)
23) Inform CMSI, Owners, Local Authorities, Insurance/ P&I , Classification Society
Collision - Hitting the Quay
1) Stop main engine at once
2) Try to pull the vessel away from quay by tugboats and ship’s main engine
3) Evaluate extent of the damage. Vessel’s damage and damage to quay
4) Consider - use anchors in order to hold position and avoid further damage
5) Watch for pollution by oil, try to minimise/ confine
6) Attend any injured people
7) Consider - leaving port due terminal being temporarily out of service
8) Inform CMSI, Owners, Local Authorities, Agent, Insurance/P&I
Cargo tank ruptures due to increased pressure - emergency procedure for gas carriers
Abandonship procedure for liquefied gas carriers
- Encountering High Winds and/or Waves - countermeasures
- Emergency Procedures for rescue - a guide to salvage operation
- Assist Vessel in Distress/Towing of Vessel in Distress
Loss of power supplies - emergency actions
Risk and hazards of Equipment failure
Loss of Instrumentation during Unloading Operations - Recommended actions by Liquefied Gas carriers
Risk and hazards of Nitrogen Loss
Gas carriers Loss of Instrumentation during Loading Operations
Gas carriers Structural Damage due to Incorrect Loading/Unloading Sequence
Encountering High Winds and/or Waves - countermeasures
Emergency Procedures for rescue - a guide to salvage operation
Assist Vessel in Distress/Towing of Vessel in Distress
External links :
International maritime organization
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