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Industry meeting highlighted common challenges and possible solutions

International requirements, collaboration across national frontiers and the need for simulator training held centre stage at an industry meeting on emergency and ocean towing in Tromsø during November.

This gathering provided good confirmation that the industry needs a meeting place received. The level of engagement in the technical discussions during and after the event has left little doubt of that.

Staged by Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) and the Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute (Marintek), the workshop is intended to become an annual event. Kjetil Aasebø and Tor Einar Berg (picture under) from the NCA and Marintek respectively report that planning of the next event in 2016 has already begun.

Manifesting the challenges tor einar berg

A scientific adviser with the Trondheim research institute, Berg observes that the workshop provided a good insight into the challenges facing the national authorities in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The three countries were represented by government officials and industry personnel.

“All of them depend on good cooperation between available private and public resources to be able to assist ships in difficulties,” says Berg.
“The point was made that official resources must have suitable equipment for various types of towing operations and that vessel crews must be qualified to establish towlines and conduct towing operations in difficult weather conditions.”

Need for simulator training

He also notes the importance of sharing experience acquired from operations. For that reason, this kind of industry meeting should be repeated at regular intervals.

“Everyone present emphasised that exercises involving commercial ships are highly desirable, but that organising these was very difficult. That means simulator training represents an important element in building and maintaining emergency towing expertise.”

International requirements discussed

Participants in the workshop also discussed international requirements for emergency towing arrangements on vessels.

Chapter 5, regulation 15-1 of the 1974 international convention for the safety of life at sea (Solas) requires that all tankers of 20 000 deadweight tonnes and above – including oil, gas and chemical carriers – must be equipped with such arrangements fore and aft.

“Although establishing emergency towing procedures is also a requirement for other types of vessels, it can be very challenging to get a towline across to a ship with a superstructure at the bows and/or stern,” says senior adviser Aasebø.

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