SAFETY AT SEA

The image shows one of the Large Volume pumps being deployed from the afterdeck of one of the many ships we have been to sea on: J.P. Tully. Hard hats, safety vests, and safety shoes are required at sea.

All ESD personnel planning to work at sea on our projects must read, understand and sign the Off-Site Saftey and Environmental Protection (OSSEPP) form pertaining to our activities at sea.

General information on safe operations at sea follow.


General Shipboard Procedures

All recent ESD work at sea has been carried out aboard ships operated by the Canadian Coast Guard, US Coast Guard, University National Oceanographic Research System (UNOLS) or by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The prime responsibility for oversight of safe operations at sea rests with the ship's officers and crew who must maintain US Coast Guard safety standards. The captain of the ship is the prime official responsible for safety at sea. The chief scientist has the responsibility to work with the captain and officers to facilitate safe science operations. Science party members must communicate safety concerns immediately to the chief scientist or appropriate crew member.

Before leaving LBNL for sea, all ESD employees will review shipboard safety information specifically provided by the ship operator. In cases where the ship operator does not provide information there are excellent examples of available on-line. [See specifics below].

Such manuals include guidance on appropriate footwear, hard hat and safety vests. Footwear must be obtained by the employee. The other items are provided by the ship. Sun exposure is an issue at all times (even under cloud covered skys) but especially in conditions of strong direct sunshine. Personnel are responsible for taking appropriate precautions to avoid sun burn and UV eye damage (e.g. use appropriate clothing, lotions and sunglasses).

The science party is drilled under the watchful eyes of ship's personnel on safe execution of the specific actions that are planned to meet science goals on a specific cruise. This includes all aspects of 'over the side' operations. No science work can take place without such oversight.

At sea Coast Guard requlations require weekly training on use of survival suits, emergency beacons, firefighting, man over board, and abandon ship procedures. This transing is given within hours of sailing. The ship's personnel are trained in CPR, fire fighting, etc, and science party personnel are not required to have specific training in these areas.

Below are specific references to shipboard operations aboard UNOLS and NOAA ships.

Ships can be very noisy places, so be prepared to learn hand signals and make sure that you make eye contact with personnel operating heavy equipment. Before you walk out on deck look up.


University National Oceanographic Research System (UNOLS) Vessels

EXAMPLE: Guidelines for operations at sea on UNOLS ships operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

EXAMPLE: Forms for Chief Scientist and participants.
Examples relevant to all:

Policy on Alcohol & Drugs Aboard Vessels
(note: zero tolerance on drugs)

Physical Ability to Work at Sea
(you need to be sure that you can physically work at sea)

Medical History Questionnaire
(if you have a condition that could require attention
at sea, then the captain needs to know)

Emergency Contact Information
(this is common sense)

UC Waiver of Liability
(Are you insured? All ship operators require such forms to be signed)

Document governing all safety aspects of UNOLS vessel operations.. Vessel operators must satisfy these requirements. The comprehensive document includes basic requirements for a ship to be seaworthy; drugs and alcohol etc.; safe procedures for over the side operations; electrical safety, etc.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Vessels

Document governing shipboard procedures on all NOAA ships.

Shipboard chain of command / responsibility aboard NOAA's ship Ron Brown. This outline is similar to ones that apply to all NOAA vessels.


MULVFS Operations

The MULVFS has 12 pump/filtration units, each capable of filtering up to 16,000 L of seawater through a filter series consisting of 53 um polyester mesh and a pair of 1 um quartz fiber filters. Each of the pumps also processes 2500 L through adsorber cartridges designed to trap dissolved natural uranium series radionuclides (particularly Th-234/U-238) present in seawater. Another flow channel allows processing of 100-200 L through specialized adsorber/filter combinations.

The 12 light-weight/low-drag pumps are operated simultaneously in profile from the surface to 1000 m depths using ship-generated 440VAC 3-phase power. This is accomplished via an uniquely engineered 1000 m long electromecanical cable and cable handling system. Depth and flowrate information is transmitted in real time from several pump units during operation.

Typical station time is 9 hours including deployment and recovery. Operations require 2 people at sea. The system is designed to be tolerant of winter time conditions.

MULVFS operations requirements

MULVFS Pumps and Cable Handling System MULVFS System Detail
MULVFS DEPLOYED IN SOUTHERN OCEAN

MULVFS SAFETY


Mechanical. Like all over the side operations, equipment and system components come under loads due to the action of ship motion and seas. Personnel must minimize time beneath working sheaves and the line of the electromechanical cable leading from the winch to the equipment deployed over the side or stern of the ship. Loads on these systems can be thousands of pounds. You can imagine that a hard hat will not help much if you are hit from above by a 30" diameter sheave like the one we use.

Hydraulic systems are used to drive the winch and to aid spooling of wire onto the winch. Such systems have been engineered to maximize safety but personnel must also avoid these systems while they are working.

Electrical. 440 V 3 phase electricity is used to power the Winch and Level wind of the MULVFS during its deployment and recovery. The connection of this equipment to the ship's power supply must be done under supervison of qualified ship's personnel.

When MULVFS is deployed and operating. Power is fed from the ship's supply via an electrical cable from LBNL's control equipment located in a dry area of the ship to the winch located on deck. Between the ship's power supply and LBNL controls there is a mechanical lock out breaker and an isolation transformer. The 'lock out' breaker must be off and 'locked out' prior to connecting or diconnecting the deck cable at the winch.

The mechanical breaker must be off and locked out during all deployment and recovery operations and when the deck cable is physically disconnected from the winch.

The system is protected during operation (while samples are collected) through redundant use of an isolation monitor/drop out relay and computer controlled relays. Personnel are advised to stay away from the winch and wire during operations.
May 15 2011

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