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Emergency response and contingency plans for Liquefied Gas carriers

An emergency can occur at any time and in any situation. Effective action is only possible if pre-planned and practical procedures have been developed and are frequently exercised. The Contingency Plan provides guidelines and instructions that assist in making an efficient response to emergency situations onboard ships.

If the vessel encounters a dangerous situation that may develop into an emergency, it is extremely important that the whole crew know exactly what they should do to save their lives and minimize damage.

It is worth stating that an abnormal condition need not necessarily be cargo related, it might be in the engine room, or involve deck machinery such as a mooring winch failure for instance. Any condition that could compromise the vesselís ability to carry out a smooth, incident free operation may be considered abnormal.

The crew must be drilled to take certain actions more or less automatically. However, nobody must act without considering the superfluous consequences.

These plans should be used actively during emergency drills. The objective of an emergency plan is to make the best use of the resources available. This will be the shipboard personnel whilst the ship is at sea but may include resources from shore when the ship is in harbour or passing through coastal waters.

The plans should be directed at achieving the following aims: The plans should include advice on the following:
  1. fire
  2. collision
  3. grounding
  4. cargo spillage/leak
  5. personnel casualty
Most of these plans will be practised during emergency drills and exercises. Make sure you know what to do and how to use the safety equipment ≠ if in doubt ask an officer.

In any emergency situation, you MUST CONTINUE using the DPA or alternate contact number you have already used when advising of the emergency.


During a serious incident many telephone calls may be made to the ship. The Master must clearly identify the caller before passing any information. Unauthorised callers must be referred to the Company for information.

The media in particular will persist in trying to obtain as much information as possible. Only the Master must speak to them. Information passed to the media must only be the minimum necessary and is to be factual. Information, which is found to be misleading, can be very damaging to the management of the incident. Whenever possible the Master must refer any caller to the Company for information and official media release.

In the event of a serious incident many different parties will require statements from the Master and Crew. It is important that statements are not given until the Company arranges for a lawyer representing the Owners/Company to be present.

Following a marine incident or accident involving collision, spill of oil, fire, injury to personnel or worse, the Master, the bridge team and all the crew are in a very stressful and time sensitive environment. Todayís contingency plans require a huge volume of reporting and regulatory response. As most incidents occur close to the shore, where all vessels are at their most vulnerable, within minutes of an accident a variety of interested parties will be requiring your time and that of your senior officers.

Below is more guideline for response to various shipboard emergency and contingency plans.

  1. Abandonship procedures - Immediate Evacuation By Own Survival Craft

  2. Grounding accident and immediate action for gas carriers

  3. Collision accident - Emergency procedure for Liquefied Gas carriers

  4. Tackling fire - Emergency procedure for Liquefied Gas carriers

  5. Encountering High Winds and/or Waves - countermeasures

  6. Emergency Procedures for rescue - a guide to salvage operation

  7. Assist Vessel in Distress/Towing of Vessel in Distress

  8. Leaks on the Cargo System, Continuous Flow - how to prevent

  9. LNG tank leaks and immediate action by gas carriers

  10. Leaks from a Loading Arm due to Tidal or Current Effects

  11. Minor or major leaks from LNG tanks

  12. Compressed air system - Gas carrier immediate actions

  13. Risk of Overfilling of Cargo Tank during Loading

  14. Cargo tank ruptures due to increased pressure - emergency procedure for gas carriers

  15. Loss of power supplies - emergency actions

  16. Risk and hazards of Equipment failure

  17. Loss of Instrumentation during Unloading Operations - Recommended actions by Liquefied Gas carriers

  18. Risk and hazards of Nitrogen Loss

  19. Gas carriers Loss of Instrumentation during Loading Operations

  20. Gas carriers Structural Damage due to Incorrect Loading/Unloading Sequence

Preparatory operations for drydocking

Type of gas carriers - variation in the design, construction and operation

Cargo Information - physical and chemical properties necessary for the safe containment of the cargo

Reactivity of liquefied gas cargo

Training requirement for transporting remote gas

External links :

  1. International maritime organization

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