Emergency response service for superyachts and cruise ships

2023-06-13T20:45:35+00:00 June 13th, 2023|Safety|

DNV’s patented Emergency Response Service (ERS) helps owners and yacht and cruise ship Masters to improve their risk management strategies and ensure that they are fully prepared and supported during any emergency situation.

Owners can be more emotional when purchasing or chartering a yacht, compared to decisions in their business lives; however, they do expect the industry to offer them top service in all areas, especially concerning the safety of family or guests, the class society said.

Cruise ship operators are equally demanding and put the safety of passengers as a top priority. DNV has been offering the ERS to the shipping industry for over 30 years and has a vast amount of experience in managing vessel incidents.

Erlend Moe, Head of Section, DNV ERS (pictured) has witnessed first-hand how disasters have been averted, in both commercial and superyachting incidents, thanks to effective actions co-ordinated by his team.

“Superyachts and cruise ships already have emergency procedures and employ dedicated personnel ashore, usually within technical management companies or departments, but DNV’s ERS team can add its broad expertise and experience to complement this setup,” he explained.

“Owners want to handle incidents, such as a grounding, quickly and efficiently and get back to cruising as soon as possible. DNV’s ERS team, on standby 24/7, is mobilised and communicates with the captain and manager, using data from prepared models and tools and drawing on our expertise, to improve the situation and reduce the risk.

“For a collision or grounding incident a technical manager is not always in a position to act as effectively as we can, with all the necessary data and expertise from our different experts at hand,” he explained.

The service starts with an enrolment process, which involves preparing a stability and strength model for the hull and preparing simulations, all tailor-made, stored and ready for use in an incident such as collisions, groundings, flooding, engine failure, uncontrolled drifting, spillage or fire.

Professional fees during any actual incident would usually be covered by the cruise ship or superyacht’s insurance provider and are based on time providing the emergency response service and advice, DNV added.

Ultimately, the level of a crew’s preparedness is raised by the advance modelling and crew training and, by having experts available, mitigation of risk is assured.

Seven staff are on the ERS duty team at any one time and, upon receiving an emergency telephone call, a team of three is immediately mobilised, comprising a duty responsible officer who co-ordinates the team, a stability expert and a strength expert.

A fourth expert is also to hand who has the competence and capacity to provide customers with drift predictions and monitoring for example meteorological data.

Vessels with any class society can benefit from DNV ERS. Presently some 15% of commercial ships using the service are not classed by DNV.

The team thrives while working under pressure and has the benefit of a calm environment to make carefully considered decisions and give sound advice.

This is in contrast to the stress the crew are most likely under if they have had cause to make contact, either directly or through their DPA, the class society explained.

A typical first critical phase time might be from eight to 16 hours, for example to stabilise a grounded vessel so it is safe, even if remaining aground in preparation for refloating at the next high tide. Then the ERS team may be demobilised and go off duty to continue operations the next day.

Moe gave an overview of the benefits, explaining how, from the initial phone call, when the team is mobilised at the start of an incident, they know what information is required (the crew will already have the relevant forms to hand), know the important questions to ask to obtain the information required to perform the required calculations, assess the criticality of the situation on board and provide advice on handling and mitigation of the incident.

“The technical manager benefits by outsourcing the handling of parts of the situation to us and being able to have peace of mind knowing we have more tools available, with capacity way beyond the on board computers, to quantify the risk level in a situation and to advise on possible measures to improve it,” Moe explained.

Moe added that “…..all vessels follow the laws of nature. If you have an accident at sea, it is very important to quantify the physics as soon as possible, understand the level of risk, how it may change and what can be done to reduce risks.”

Carrying out drills and exercises is recommended so the crew can get a better understanding of what their vessel can withstand and of the capabilities provided by ERS.