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Chemical spill emergencies - how to deal ? Chemical tankers emergency procedure

The biggest risk of a cargo spill is during cargo handling operations either because of equipment failure or improper handling procedures. Cargo spills are therefore most likely to occur during the vesselís stay alongside.

The primary factor affecting response will be dependent on the chemicals involved, the circumstances and size of the spillage and its location onboard. If there is the possibility of cargo or cargo vapours entering the accommodation or engine room spaces via vents, the appropriate preventative steps must be taken without delay. As a general rule, there should be full initial response to any spill however small and the emergency party must wear appropriate breathing apparatus and protective clothing, it is always better to over react to the situation than to delay.

chemical tanker navigation at sea
Safety of personnel in such incidents should always take precedence over environmental issues. If it is possible and safe to do so, the released liquids should be pumped or washed into a slop tank or other suitable containment, or collected for safe disposal using absorbent materials.

In the case of spills or corrosive liquids the general advice is to wash the spilt liquid overboard with large quantities of water from as far away from the spills as practicable. A spray or fog of water, never a direct jet, should be used in such circumstances, the emergency team wearing appropriate protective equipment should approach the spill form upwind and direct the spray to the edge of the spill gradually working towards the centre.

Personnel should be aware that the use of water on fuming acids and some other strong acids willn iitially cause vigouros reaction that wicllause increased fuming, this will be temporary while the spillage will be dealt with rapidly. If possible, the vessel should be manoeuvred off the wind.

The actions to be taken in the event of a spill onboard should, as a minimum, include the following:-
  1. Activate the alarm
  2. Stop all cargo operations and close valves and hatches
  3. If alongside a berth, notify the terminal staff of the chemicals involved and possible risks posed to personnel
  4. Notify the Port Authorities, usually through the terminal staff and the operators of the vessel
  5. Prohibit smoking and the use of naked lights in all areas of the vessel
  6. Clean up using water and contain in drums or suitable empty tanks, drip tray, etc.
  7. Clear all non-essential personnel from the immediate vicinity
  8. Close all access doors and stop all non-closed circuit ventilation
  9. Make preparations for the vessel to leave the berth

It should be borne in mind that individual ship has got own characteristics and limitations may involved handling various chemical cargoes . The master and all personnel in all cases must be aware of cargo/ship information that has been given and comply with relevant safety procedures.

Related Info:

Voyage planning and related considerations

Cargo sampling safety precautions

Preparation for cargo operation

Preparing a cargo tank atmosphere

Cargo unloading operation safety precautions

Liaison between ship and shore

How to arrange disposal of tank cleaning waste ?

Retention of slops on chemical tankers

Preparations prior allowing personnel into cargo tanks / enclosed spaces

How to rescue injured or unconscious person from enclosed spaces

Cargo hose disconnection - Personal Safety on Chemical Tankers

Risk with noxious liquid cargo contact

Cargo handling equipments for handling noxious liquid substances in bulk

Cargo handling safe practices onboard modern chemical tankers

Product information required for various chemical cargo prior loading

Restriction on discharge of cargo residues into sea from chemical tankers

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