Accidents in shipping are unexpected but they can result in major financial and ecological losses to people and affected areas. The damages to property, human lives, and to the marine environment are inevitable for the shipping accidents of cargo carrying hazardous material (Ceyhun 2014). Though the cause of these accidents can be human error, route situation, failures in machinery or systems, natural calamities, and other cargo related elements, but their major impacts are devastating and long term. Moreover, the shipment of hazardous, flammable and/or explosive materials can add further safety concerns for the management. Although the latest shipping technologies, trained man power, and carefully designed routes, the vessels containing hazardous material such as petroleum, inflammable gases, and nuclear waste require additional vigilance as well as expertise. Despite of the safety precautions, route regulations, and creative technologies, the shipping accident and collisions are particular research interest in all decades (Chauvin et al 2013).
In this research, the review of major hazardous marine cargo accidents around the globe depict the importance of the consequences of serious marine collisions / accidents in terms of economic, marine, and human environments has been completed. Further, Celik and Cebi (2009) added that the disappearance of the giant cargo ships, blockage and contamination of vast areas of sea, and the involvement of massive cleaning forces not only cost additional losses to the concerned authorities but also bore a severe blow for the sustainability of marine environment.
On the other hand, Chauvin et al (2009) argued that the use of latest technology and skilled human resource is required for the safe transportation of marine cargo containing hazardous material such as chemicals, petroleum products, nuclear waste, and other toxic material. In order to increase the safety of marine transport, strategic attempts are needed to assure the health, safety, and protection of marine environment. This thesis is intended to evaluate these strategic approaches, as well as outline the risks related to the safe marine transport of hazardous chemicals and petroleum products and also aimed at determining the consequences of accidents and collisions of such cargo.
The aim of this paper is the exploration of the impacts of shipping accidents on global marine environment. This project will investigate the potential impacts of accidents involving ships that transport hazardous cargo particularly flammable liquids cargo involving chemicals, petroleum and related products. Afterwards, the project also aimed to propose further methods which could enhace the current systems of safety transportation of hazardous materials, such as the development of a preliminary index on basis of findings of this research for measuring the severity of marine impacts of these shipping accidents/ collisions.
The main objectives of this research are:
Following questions is derived from above research objectives:
- What are the level of risks and impacts on marine life and environment due to shipping accidents of hazardous / flammable liquids cargo and how these accidents can be prevented?
Can the current system be further enhanced to ensure higher levels of safety and regulations?
Significance and scope of Research
The study significance is in the area of evaluation of the consequences of marine cargo accidents when hazardous chemicals and petroleum and related products are transported. The collected information and analyses can be utilized in detailed researches in the same area of interest. The scope of the research is limited to only hazardous marine cargo accidents and their consequences. The major global accidents examples are used to calculate the index of severity of these accidents.
Besides the dynamic nature of current research, certain limitations also affect the extent of study and its working; few observed restrictions are as follows:
The thesis is organized in following sections:
Chapter 1: Introduction chapter explained the research topic with brief background. Aim and objectives, research questions and significance of research are important areas discussed.
Chapter 2: Literature Review provided the critical review of literature on marine accidents and their implications. The risk assessment methods and the impacts of hazardous cargo accidents are discussed in this chapter.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology is based on the description of research methods used for the collection and analysis of secondary data.
Chapter 4: Data analysis and discussion part is based on the theoretical analyses of collected qualitative data. Description and comparison of marine accidents examples are used to evaluate the most significant impacts of these accidents.
Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations are provided in the last chapter. Future research implications are also an important component.
Marine transportation of goods and commodities has revolutionised the speed of progress globally and possess an important status in world trade and growth of economies. According to Fagerholt et al (2007), the benefits of marine transportation are fast trading to support rapid large scale industrialization, overcome the land transport barriers, and to enhance the population growth across the globe. In other words, the impacts of marine transport are significantly in four major areas of economic, social, environmental, and political (Mullai 2006). Furthermore, Esq (2001) added that maritime transport is an essential component of national transport infrastructure of any country and impacts the development of the people lives and support the economical transportation of goods across the continents. Also, the connection of land transport chains is another favourable perspective of maritime transport (EC 1996).
On the other hand, the risks involved in safety and security of marine transportation is also of high magnitude. Iakovou (2001) argued the increased accidents in marine transport generate huge losses to the economy and environment that can be replenished over the period of many decades. The increased demand of chemicals, petroleum and related products has increased the pressure on marine transport as well as security of inflammable liquids is a more sensitive issue. Iakovou (2001) further added that in order to avoid long terms losses, the prevention of marine cargo transported petroleum and related products from accidents is also very important.
Marine cargo considers as hazardous if the transportation is for material produce contamination for human and marine life and environment if exposed after any accident (Celik and Cebi 2009). In this research, the marine transport of inflammable liquids such as chemicals, liquefied natural gas (LNG), Crude oil, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and related dangerous goods are considered to be highly hazardous due their higher risk associated with fire, explosion as well due their adverse impact on the marine life.
Kenneth Grant (2006) asserted that petroleum or Crude oil is transported as unrefined oil with constituents of hydrocarbons, hazardous for the human and marine life as a case of oil spill in sea. This crude oil further distillate to produce gasoline, diesel, and other petrochemical items, used to supply energy for commercial and residential uses. LNG and LPG are also derivatives of petroleum that are also transported through marine cargo. According to Redovic et al 2014, over one million ton of crude oil and its derivatives are entered in marine environment annually due to the accidental leakages, oil spills, natural seepages, and from industrial resources. IMO (2012) report suggested the preventive measures to assure the safe marine transport of inflammable liquids and discussed the means to build more safe oil tankers to avoid accidental and operational pollution.
However, it important to further analyse how relevant these recent changes have been, and if these engineering improvements have been sufficient in ensuring that the hazardous materials as described previous can considered to safe during the course of the shipments. Therefore, effort has been made to review the literature related to marine cargo accidents and analyse the primary causes of major accidents under marine environment
The clear definition of marine accidents is important to differentiate it from the term “marine incident”. According to Weintrit (2009: 248), the later is used to signify the number of adverse impacts like marine accidents and incidents. Marine accidents occur as a result of sudden and undesirable events combination. Also, Mullai & Paulsson, (2011) used the term accident in discussion of the research methodology for the evaluation of the impacts of marine cargo clashes and oil spills. Hence, this paper is also used the term ‘marine accidents’ to discuss the impacts of undesirable events happened to crude oil and related products carrying vessels. Atken (2006) added that despite of the introduction of latest marine navigation and transport technologies and the enhanced communication networks used b ship[ping companies, the shipping accidents are yet to be ceased.
As far as the causes of marine accidents are considered, Merrick et al. (2000) classified the causes in two major groups, immediate causes and root or basic causes. The root causes are the result of unskilled operators with lack of technical knowledge, presence of inappropriate safety system management, and the natural disasters. In contrast, the immediate causes are a result of human error, injuries, machine failures, and any other immediate natural calamity. The physical and psychological disorders of operating staff are also considered as one of the major causes of ship accidents when the machinery and environment is regular with no unexpected drift. Some major causes of ship accidents from the literature reviewed are explained below:
Moreover, Celik & Cebi, (2009) asserted that despite of the attempts and claims of safe marine cargo transportation, several reports on past incidents show serious challenges to the safe marine transport of hazardous cargo, which is the primary focus of this research
Impacts of marine accidents which are also associated with the transportation of hazardous materials can be presented in the following two major categories:
Immediate impacts of such incidents can include various catastrophes including high death tolls, injuries to staff, property losses, and various other form of threats/risks to individuals. On the other hand, delayed impacts spread long term environment pollution as well as marine life, financial losses, and the increase in death toll (Merrick et al. 2000). The long term environment pollution under such cases are considered to highly catastrophic as it can lead to an imbalance of natural life of underwater species for years to come. This has been observed in various accidents where the oil tankers and deep-water oil extraction processes mal-functioned and caused major incidents (UNEP 2007).
On account of oil tankers, the final after effect of the natural harm because of the oil spill is the primary concern (Soares and Teixeira 2001), which might happen on the port during loading or offloading on the container terminals. In some previous studies, it is noticed that influencing environment by few elements has made a troublesome occupation to evaluate the outcomes of marine transport. Ellis and AB (2002) asserted that these components can be shoreline, residue, and affectability of the marine biotic group, climate, seasonal changes, and so forth.
As discussed previously, accidents related to cargos containing hazardous materials is a major concern in marine engineering for both the immediate and delayed impacts. For this reason, there are various codes of practices as well as regulations applied all over the globe, such as the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) codes, Dangerous Goods and Marine Pollutant Regulations-1997, the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations-1987, Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) (UK’s department of transport, 2012). The codes, legislations and practices requires the shipping organizations to follow and meet a certain set of requirements under each material categorized as hazardous. This primarily includes:
However, accidents still incur even if the procedural steps are completed for any cargo. Various studies such as EMSA 2007, Mamaca et al., 2009 and HASREP 2005 have assessed the accidents related to hazardous materials, which provides detailed impact assessments of some of most influential accidents across the globe. The scientific analyses of most of these accidents shows the marine carrying flammable oils and gases are subjected to higher risks; as indicated by the research findings of Romer et al. 1995, which showed that accidents involving oil were twice more frequent as compared to other chemicals.
The research completed by Marchand in the year 2002 also investigated various such accidents across European Union waters , and reported that at least 23 accidents with meaningful information related to causes, places, product/chemicals involved, mitigation measures as well as impacts on environment have been documented. According to this study, the majority of the accidents incurred with bulk carriers at the time the vessel was moving during the transit-phase at EU sea, and were primarily caused by bad weather conditions, structural damage and human health issues due to the results of reactive substances.
Similarly, The Helsinki Commission, also known as HELCOM, presented statical analyses report (2012) of at least 210 numbers crude oil-tankers, chemical/product tankers, liquid-bulk tankers which were involved in accidents from the period of 1989 till 2012 in Baltic Sea. However, during the last few decades it is observed that the large number of oil and chemical spills have reduced after the introduction of single hull tankers, improvised technical equipment and strict legislations. As per Rytkonen and Hänninen (2006:4) around 80% of most of the accidents and incidents are caused due to human error. For instance, machine and human interference combined with cultural performance are the main reason of the problems. The human factor can be categorized into two areas where one is the true human error which arises due to falling asleep, being careless or taking poor judgments. While on the other hand there are some organizational errors which include contradictory instructions, poor communication and pressurized conditions (Rytkonen and Hänninen, 2006).
According to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) it is found that out of the total 75 ships which are navigating in the Baltic Sea were involved in calamities during year 2009. This includes;
As per HELCOM (s.a.) statistics there are 105 accidents recorded from which ten accidents have resulted in pollution. Moreover, during the last few years there are 628 accidents which have occurred and 41 of these have resulted in pollution. Moreover, in 2007 it is found that the polluting substance was the chemical named potassium chloride. However, in the remaining cases the polluting substance was categorized as oil or in some cases it remained unidentified.
Recently, there have been only a few incidents in the region while the other examples are over thirty years old. The accidents can be categorized into two sets in which most important is the human error, technical problem or mechanical wear and tear. Moreover, human error is further divided into two subtypes in which one in the improper handling of cargo while the second include the improper supervision and navigational errors such as loading and unloading of cargo.
As per the literature reviewed, the accidents are categorized into two major types: human error related issues and machine breakdowns / other technical problems. Human related errors can be further categorized into subtypes which includes improper handling/management of cargo and the navigational errors / insufficient supervision of processes such as loading and unloading of cargo.
Human error is believed to be the reason behind most of the accidents that occur. For instance, use of improper equipment and incompatible equipment for a particular job result in accident and consequent loss. Every chemical has its distinct nature and require unique mode of handling pertinent to its natural properties. Apart from the mode and conditions, each hazardous material require exclusive equipment for its handling as per its chemical properties. for the purpose of this research, the following examples have been included to analyse the technical details of accidents occurring in this category
A Belgian tanker Rene 16 was unloading ammonia at the port of Landkrona in southern Sweden, in January 1976. A rubber hose was in use to pump out ammonia from the tanker, which burst out suddenly causing death of two crew members and losing around 180 tons of ammonia into water. Ammonia is corrosive in nature and the rubber hose used for pumping was highly incompatible for it. Rubber is used for handling propane and butane while ammonia damages the internal of rubber pipe in an instance resulting in havoc. Usage of improper and incompatible equipment was marked as a reason behind this fatal accident (HELCOM 2003: annex 3). Ammonia is a widely use chemical in industries and extensively transported globally. Material Safety Data Sheet -MSDS is developed for all chemicals in use that demonstrate its handling cautions and material compatibilities. It should be kept alongside while transportation as ammonia is highly toxic and dangerous to both the humans and environment. Ammonia spill increase COD of water creating issues for marine life as well.
A British container ship Annabella with a stack of seven containers was collapsed and damaged in February 2007. Bad weather conditions pushed the entire ship weight to a certain inclination. Out of seven containers, the upper three had butylene gas, which is considered as hazardous materials. These three hazardous containers were unloaded safely at Kotka and the ship was redirected. In Feb 2010, it was reported by “Cedre” again that four containers were collapsed in Finnish cargo ship Linda. Investigations show that the bottom most containers broke that caused top three containers fell into the sea. The crew noticed the incident twenty minutes after it happened. The ship had covered a significant distance in that time and exact location of lost containers couldn’t be traced, but it is believed that they lie around 70 to 80 meters deep beneath the sea due to their weight and saline sea nature. Due to extensive loading, exact nature of lost containers couldn’t be stated but according to investigations, one of them had 5 tons of flammable substance and rest of the two had marine pollutant weighing 15 tons.
Alert was sent to other ship on the same or nearby route to take extreme caution as the embedded containers could result in sort of explosion or damage. All investigations are led by Accident Investigation Board of Finland. Team declared the human error as potential cause of these accidents as the bottom container was damaged due to excessive weight of the top containers. Maximum allowable limit of weight was ignored while loading and stacking. Verdict was published that lack of effective communication between the shippers, crew, planners and loading terminal cause such accidents. Incomplete information and unawareness of the potential risks of chemicals plot such havoc and result in loss.
However, it is important to note at this point that human error is not the only reason for such incidents. When staff deals with machines, it has some inherent potential for break down and malfunctioning. Engine or related ship machinery can break or worn out while working or on the quays that can result in accidents too. People who are into chemical handling business should be aware of these factors too. In January 1973, A cistern was ruptured at Gothenburg port all at once while a German tanker Amalie Essberger was unloading molten phenol alongside. It was later known that rupture was due to over pressure. This incident resulted in leakage of around 400 tons of phenol into water which formed a gas cloud.
Handling toxic chemicals is a very sensitive area. Errors and mishandling here result in death toll. Navigational mistakes and inadequate supervision are not directly related to handling or unloading issues, but it serves as a major managerial issue in this respect. Chemical transportation in wide open seas and ocean with limited back up and firefighting facilities is a very tricky business. The level of risk involved in it calls for higher safety practices. Supervisory and navigational negligence can cost a lot. Navigational negligence result in disasters too in wide seas, as it causes ships to collapse after collision. In May 2003, Chinese bulk carrier Fu Shan Hai was sunk between Sweden and Denmark, north off the island Bornholm. It was majorly remembered for the resultant oil pollution but it was responsible for loss of 66,000 tons of potash too. Potash is one of the crude chemical that is used in fertilizers.
The sad incident of an Italian tanker, Crystal Bubino is an example of such ignorance. The physical labor is carried out by unprofessional staff which is made to work as per the directions only. It is the responsibility of the supervising manager to give clear instructions and make the activity safe for both of its employees and material. The tanker was loading nonyl-phenolethoxylate in the port of Hamina in July 2000. The loading was ongoing unsupervised and the maximum level was breached and two tons of chemical overflowed to sea, which starting to foam on the surface. As reported by AIBF 2000, the vivid cause of this negligence was unmonitored activity by untrained staff that could easily be avoided with effective directions of supervisor and proper compliance of safety checklist by the chief officer in charge.
The explorative research methodology is followed in this research, which is based primarily on secondary data analysis. The major accidents and their after effects are reviewed globally, with specific focus on the data available from the latest research papers and investigations. The printed and online scholarly journals, research reports, newspaper articles, and the international marine agencies reports were used in the completed literature to analyse the basic causes of such incidents as well as major impacts of these accidents.
The multiple factor of environment, marine life, human, and financial losses were considered as measuring criteria of these major accidents. Moreover, a detailed analyses of the fundamental parameters associated with the regulations of the marine transportation was also completed. The primary aim of these analyses was to develop an understanding of the standardized practices, and to suggest what can be done further to improve the marine transportation systems, especially for Cargos carrying hazardous materials.
As the methodology was dictated by the secondary data from the influential organizations across the globe, it was important during this research to review if there are sufficient organizations which provides detailed information on the types of hazardous chemicals, their physical properties and the severity of their impact on the environment. Detailed guidelines in relation to the chemical response in case of a chemical release are made available by Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution to allow users to get quick access to the pivotal information. The Internal Labour Organisation further provides the original versions of International Chemical Safety Cards.
When it comes to handling, stocking, trading and transportation of goods, there are various classification systems available which include grouping of hazardous substances and chemicals. The two most reputed and well recognized grouping systems concerning the handling and transportation of poisonous chemicals and substances are the MARPOL and the IMDG code categories.
IMDG code, abbreviation of The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, divides packed hazardous chemicals into nine categories some of which have further sub-categories. The International Maritime Organisation which specializes in maritime activities within the USA is responsible for maintaining the IMDG code which incorporates amendments every other year. To prevent marine environments from getting polluted by ship activities on seawater, MARPOL is recognized as an international convection. A classification system for liquid and noxious substances is introduced by the Annex II of the MARPOL contract.
Strict regulations apply on the sea transportation of harmful substances which are classified based on either MARPOL categories (bulk) or the IMDG code (packaged). Similar restrictions and regulations apply on the structures and design of vessels/tankers that are used to transport hazardous chemicals. Ships carrying solid bulk chemicals, liquid bulk chemicals and gaseous chemicals have to abide the BC code, IBC code and IFC code respectively (Hakkinen, 2009). Every ship carrying over 400 grt (gross register tons) or any oil tanker with over 150 grt is required to keep a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan. Moreover, according to FMA (2002), a shipboard marine pollution emergency plan, should be kept by ships that carry over 150 grt of noxious liquid substances.
Therefore, it can be concluded that detailed standard operating practices and their implications are being applied all over the globe, and the accidents that occur are normally the cause of human errors and some external factors. Hence the methodology of this research was focussed on reviewing these factors only, and outline the finding in a form of recommendations such as development of an index systems top further enhance the marine safety of cargos. These factors were only reviewed due the limitations such as lack of extensive time and resources during this research
World’s environment, land and properties and even the living organisms can be seriously harmed by the hazardous gases, liquids and solids. Hazardous substances are those that fall under the categories –pathogenic, toxic, oxidizing, corrosive, radioactive, explosive and flammable. Various industrial sectors make use of these hazardous substances as part of their routine processes. Industries such as oil, pharmaceuticals, plastics and paper, vehicles, electronics, rubbers, steel, paints and electronics use hazardous substances as part of their manufacturing processes. Many other industries are directly involved in the transportation of hazardous materials.
As suggested in the methodology section of the paper, the focus of the research findings of this study has been directed towards the implications of resource management and on the technical issues related to shipment processes of the hazardous materials. According to Hakkinen (2009), the major chunk of transported hazardous substances consists of oil products. Technologically advanced tankers are used for chemical transportations, as indicated by INTERTANKI (2006). It is possible to transport chemical substances in both packed and bulk form. The bulked substances can be further classified into gases, liquids and solids, which are transported with the help of gas carriers and chemical carriers (Hannninen & Rytkonen, 2006).
The most common structures of oil tankers are the double hull tankers and the single hull tankers. Single hull tankers are those that use a bottom and a side plate to separate the seawater from the cargo. Double hull tankers, on the other hand, ensure further strengthening of the sides and the bottom of the ship using a second internal plate which is placed at an adequate distance from the external plate. The structure of double hull tankers has been discussed in detail by Anon (2007b). It should be noted that the external layer can be substantially damaged if there is a collision, and therefore experts have concluded that the double hull tankers are far more effective when it comes to dealing with the risks of serious pollution. Because of the serious environmental concerns associated with the use of single hull tankers, the UMP started phase out of single hull tankers nearly two decades ago. Most single hull tankers had been completed transformed into double hull tankers or completely removed by the end of 2010. Below is given the list of most commonly transported hazardous bulk chemicals (Bonn Agreement, 2000).
Taking into consideration the discussion until now, it is imperative that responsible personal determine the physical properties of chemicals that are to be transported. Different chemicals may behave differently in the sea environment and therefore it is absolutely important to identify the ones that can sink, dissolve, float or evaporate. Moreover, the role of conditions of the sea in relation to the physical properties of chemicals can also not be overlooked. Different chemicals can be placed under different physical property groups that are distinguishable based on certain limits of viscosity, solubility, density and vapour pressure. For substances in different physical states including solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals, different limits are applied. Since chemical belonging to different property groups behave differently and those belonging to similar property groups behave similarly, these categories can be of really help to those who are responsible in case of an accident or spillage (Hannien & Rytkonen, 2006).
However, in real world when chemicals get dissolved into seawater, their behavior and reaction is extremely complex rather than simple dissolving, floating, evaporation or sinking. It has been frequently observed that a certain chemical can both dissolve into the water and evaporate into the air based on the conditions and situation. According to European behavior classification system of Bonn Agreement, there are 12 such property groups. Chemical that are packed are further split into three more groups including Sink, Immerse and Float.
As discussed in the literature review section of this paper, the safety regulations and strategies implemented by shipping industry for the purpose of transporting chemicals and hazardous substances are highly reliable. In order to ensure safe work practices and prevent pollution to the environment, governments and industries have already played their part by adopting and implementing strict safety regulations. However, technological advancements keep improving the safety procedures and safety standards throughout the world, and therefore new and improved regulations have to be introduced every now and then (Hanninen and Rytkonen, 2006).
For example, following the disasters that occurred in the form of Prestige and Erika oil tankers, the European Union tightened their maritime safety standards to a considerable extent. After the accidents, the European Union established the European Maritime Safety Agency EMSA as part of their improved safety measures programme. At the same time, improvement of the safety of maritime transportation is reflected upon by the AIS and VTS systems that present technical solutions for that purpose (Danklefsen, 2010). Carriage of Goods and Law – The Case of Finland and Maritime Transport and Risks of Packaged Dangerous Goods present two excellent guides concerning the laws and regulations in maritime industry (Mullai, 2006; Railas, 2006). EMSA (2007), Hakkinen (2009) and Hanninen and Rytkonen (2006) have also briefly touched upon the subject. Hanninen and Rytkonen (2006) have further discussed the measures that can be taken to improve the safety of transportation of hazardous chemicals.
Any ship with chemicals or harmful substances intending to enter a port inside the European Union must report to the port as soon as the destination port is recognized or at least 24 hours in advance. This regulation is strictly implemented by the European Parliament of the Council (Anon, 2002). The SafeSeaNet system designed by EMSA maintains all information concerning the type of chemicals to be transported, the voyage of the ship and accident history of the ship entering the port (EMSA, 2010b). One needs to take into consideration various factors and opinions when comparing the differences between oil/chemical accidents in seawaters. Experts are of the opinion that it is easier to identify risks associated to potential oil accidents than those that are a result of some other chemicals.
It is vitally important to recognize so many types of chemicals transported in the oceans and the seas on a daily basis. Moreover, all these chemicals, hazardous substances, and chemical compounds present risks of different levels, as described by Malmsten (2001). However, spills from oil tankers are almost always more dangerous and larger in size than those from chemical tankers, because oil is transported in larger quantities.
The impact of hazardous substances and spillage of oil/chemical in the oceans and seas can be long lasting and disturbing. Certain oceanic species can be completely vanished in case of a large chemical/oil discharge. Other problems associated with such hazards include contamination of water masses and coastlines, infertility of certain species and disturbances to nearby facilities. Oil/chemical accident effects are not limited to the environment or the shoreline but incorporate wider effects. So, elements of the ecosystem that are of vital to the area can be affected by this. For instance, wintering birds, spawning grounds, and habitats are part of the ecosystem.
Finally, it is important to recognize that the time and place of the spill plays a key role towards the intensity of the effect of a spill on the environment. This translates into the fact that different spills of the same size can have diverse effects on the surroundings. Therefore, it is important that accidents in sea are assessed based on how large their effect on the environment is and not how large the spillage or the accident itself is (HELCOM, 2006). When compared to the spill effects offshore, the impacts of spills nearer to the shore are much more prominent. This is especially true for oil spills. However, the impacts offshore are rather easier to be quantified.
As discussed previously, there is a wide array of operational manual and guides available that discuss the problems associated with sea pollution and chemical releases in seawaters. Various international organizations such as HELCOM and IMO have published such guidelines on their websites and in print media. The IMP manual, which provides guidance to governments, was made available to the maritime industry more than two decades. It has been used by professionals in the field of chemical pollution response since then. Bu that the questions that arises here is:
Is there a way that systems can enhanced to further optimize the Crago operational procedures? Dose development of safety index can enhance these systems?
The following sections addresses this key research question. Effort has been made to present bold recommendations through out of the box thinking and troubleshooting of the current fundamental concerns regarding the maritime safety
While undertaking extensive research during this study, it was observed that many organizations maintain the safety related data of maritime chemical transportation. However, it was important to note that each organization uses a specific format and basis for keeping data, and hence it cannot be compared effectively. Therefore, it necessitates the need for the development of globally acceptable system, as in various currently used systems there is no consistency and hence some are more elaborated than others.
European wide statistics are maintained by Eurostat service of the European Union, but they are very rudimentary in nature and explain very little about chemical transportation. The Finnish PortNet information system has the entire transportation data of ships that depart or arrive at the Finnish port. This is a very comprehensive and useful data system and such an effective system should be opted to keep the record for locomotion. The current system is very sluggish for research purpose as stated and agreed by EMSA; “In general, the researching of the subject is seen as very difficult due to insufficient data”. For effective record maintenance purposes, the register logging is not sufficient. First-hand information from the authorities and operators is need to be logged as well. This all can be done by establishing questionnaires?
Moreover, it important to note that maintaining safety related record with such precision in a complex system can be very time consuming. Furthermore, as per experiences of Hanninen and Rytkonen, it is very unrealistic to gather all details with precision for all individual cargos, and many port authorities will be unwilling to share this data too. The movement is so much at the port that the data will be outdated so quickly and keeping old records would be tedious too.
The transportation rates have been exponentially raised for past few decades and are at the verge of rise even now. Transportation rate is subject to the nature of material and effect a lot the relative importance of certain chemicals. With improvement is technical methods and legislations, shipping industry is evolving day by day. This change demands revolutionary changes to the current systems such as the record of statistics and improvements, and introducing an entirely different system such as an index system for rating the cargos carrying hazardous materials to maintain a minimum level of precautionary measures and standard.
Realizing this importance of data, HELCOM (1990:14) has put forward the suggestion of period review of statistics after five years. This five-year goal was missed by a latest study published in 2006 with a record of past two years. This all demand for a new and updated format of maritime transportation and locomotion around the globe. Moreover, no proposals such development of an index systems has been proposed as well.
The idea / concept of an index system is not new, and this one of the concepts that can be used in marine systems. Many organizations around the globe including Health and Safety Executive of United Kingdom uses many such systems for safety, maintenance, sustainability ratings, power ratings and in development projects.
In this study, development and/or proposing a properly engineered index systems was not possible and hence was not the scope of this research due the limitations of this research, however after undertaking and extensive research on marine systems and safety, the researcher intended to float this idea and suggest it as an important research opportunity. However, an effort has been made to suggest some of the most fundamental parameters which must be included in this index system.
The primary goal of the system must to regularize the safety related data (along with other data) for all cargos around the globe under one regulatory body, and develop one sustainable system that can be used to integrate and process data from all types of cargos carrying all types of the hazardous materials and chemicals. The research results presented in this section necessitates this need, and hence it could prove to be a viable solution.
The models of the Index system must follow a specific methodology for all form of hazardous categories, as shown in the figure below;
All these materials can be classified under one system, such as per the characterizations of the UN or EU or an integrated characterization system of hazardous materials can be reached through developing a joint integrated team and/or following any one specific codes such as IMDG. Development of such as systems would require the practitioners of the industry as well as the local and international governing bodies to work together and introduce this one integrated index system.
In order to rate the condition of the cargo against set of standards, it would be necessary to work against each category of the safety related indices, and develop a standard rating system. The following table highlight some of the primary considerations that must be included in the index, and relevant codes/rating of practices must be developed while considering all the associated quality practices. A defined set of criteria will be used to assess and evaluate the performance standards according to the benchmarks which will be established in such a system.
Table – 1: Primary Parameters to be considered for the development of the Index System
As per Codes / standards of?
Approved and Singed?
Physical / chemical properties (SI units)
Details of the relevant codes being applied, such as World Index
Names of rating System and scores, limitation, classification benchmarks
Approving authority, legislation body principles etch
In response to the materials being transported. To be standardised and benchmarked against the physical properties
To be standardised and benchmarked against the physical properties
Response measures in light of physical properties, details of selection procedures
Information sheets, inspection reports of each container etc.
Details risk analyses against the transported materials (fire, explosions, spills, dissolving capabilities, evaporation, pressurization etc.
Monitoring of installed and portable instruments, methods of monitoring
Levels of protection systems installed
Sampling Methods Used
Methods of corrective response to incidents which may involve
hazardous substances spills in marine -environment
For example, various levels of the protection systems can be engineered and standardized / benchmarked. The cargo must be required to meet a certain level of protection systems to meet the required safety rating. Such integrated state of the art system may also require utilization of the computer aided models to maintain the records, however as per the suggestion of various case studies, there is a definite need to regularize the data and safety related issues of the cargos, and hence such Index based system can prove to be successful in the future of marine transportations
Over the last 20 years it is found that the transportation and handling of hazardous chemical products have increased significantly. Owing to all these accidents the risk of marine pollution and similar accidents has increased. This study investigated various recorded incidents in seas worldwide and analysed the major impacts as well as the causes of those incidents
This study revealed highest risk at sea is with the hazardous materials transportation, the density at maritime traffic is high and at the ports where loading and unloading is being done; accidents are much likely to occur. Chemical spills are rare than oil spills statistically. But the chemical spills can be equally dangerous as they can damage human, environment and vicinity to a larger extent with their combustible, poisonous and reactive nature. The only difference between an oil and chemical spill is related to its response action.
In case of marine accidents, many factors have known to played pivotal part however the major cause of incidents have been miss-management and errors by the human resources involved. The nature of chemicals being transported, and the quality of the cargos are some considerable factors which must be carefully evaluated to avoid the risk of accidents. The dilemma is that very few of marine accidents have been gauged against the marine pollution because impacts of such spills is difficult to investigate. Some chemicals are very hazardous while some non-toxic substances are also added to the seas due to such accidents. Environmental studies show the release of such chemicals are known to be extremely harmful to marine life.
Moreover, it was observed during this research that various codes of practices related to safety and best practices are available and being implied successfully across the globe, however there is a dire need for the development of one integrated systems that can be used to gauge / rate the condition of the cargo and the materials being transported. Availability and processing of safety related data, and development of rating systems against every parameter associated with the safety of cargos as well as the materials involved is indeed a very challenging task. Hence it also provides as opportunity for the researchers to take this challenge and undertake further research to review if any such models can prove to be a viable solution for improving the marine cargo systems for the generations to come
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