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Explosion Onboard: A Proactive Approach For Maritime Safety
Atom Alloys
July 3, 2021
3 Mins Read Time

Historically, marine vessels have carried people and goods since the time of the Vikings, Romans, and Egyptians. As of 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that around 90% of international trade is conducted by sea, with an even higher percentage in developing countries.

What makes sea transportation so popular?

As a mode of transportation that connects all countries, waterways remain the most efficient and cost-effective for moving bulk quantities of goods over long distances. Unlike other modes of transportation, shipping goods via sea typically leaves a lower carbon footprint.

A Review Of The Hazards Associated With Seafaring 

Did you know that a seafarer’s job has been ranked among the ten most dangerous jobs in the world? These brave workers toil hard under rough seas, harsh weather conditions, intense work schedules, and long periods of isolation to transport goods to every corner of the world. Aside from that, the nature of the goods they carry aboard also poses serious safety risks.

The marine industry transports a great variety of goods, including cars, livestock, machinery, equipment, chemicals, grains, etc. In addition, petroleum goods and their byproducts such as crude oil, LNG, CNG make up a major share of cargo transported via sea. 

Large-scale transportation of hazardous chemicals and flammable liquids and vapours can pose significant onboard risks, affecting the ship, its crew, and those handling it. Despite the IMO regulatory framework and directives under FSS and SOLAS, fire and explosion are among the biggest risks faced by the shipping industry. Containerised fuel can catch fire if not properly handled or stored, starting a ‘domino effect’ that affects nearby fuel storage tanks, leading to uncontrollable fires and massive fuel tank explosions.

Image Source: CNN

Onboard fuel safety is a problem in and of itself. Furthermore, the shipping industry consumes about 300 million tonnes of fuel each year, which is composed mainly of heavy fuel oil, marine gas oil, and natural gas. Transportation of these shipping fuels and the refuelling activities themselves should be safely conducted through a number of safety measures and precautions.

Environmental Impact Of The Maritime Industry

An explosion onboard can affect not only the vessel and its crew but also the environment. It is harder and more time-consuming to contain fires on ships when they are far from the shore. As a result, large cargo ships travelling with flammable fuels are at risk of exploding, causing harmful oil spills and marine pollution.

A brown pelican coated in oil struggles on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana, on June 4, 2010.
PHOTOGRAPH BY WIN MCNAMEE, GETTY IMAGES 

Marine ecosystems have been severely impacted by several such off-shore explosions and spills. In fact, it was one such disaster, namely the Santa Barbara oil spill, that led to the first Earth Day in 1970. However, have we become better at preventing these accidents altogether?

As Robert Swan once said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”. So then let’s take this matter into our hands! What can we do to keep explosions at bay?

Introducing A Fuel Tank  Explosion Prevention System 

Fuel explosions have become an increasingly serious problem due to the growing consumption of flammable fuels in all facets of our lives. Explosion prevention solutions from ATOM provide unprecedented levels of safety at an affordable price. Through ATOM, the environment, your businesses and workers, and the community as a whole are protected via flammable fuel storage and transportation safety.

In the shipping industry, the key focus of the marine safety guidelines is to prevent hazards and improve vessel survival, especially for passenger ships. The crew and passengers are therefore able to safely remain on board until the ship reaches a port in the event of an accident. 

ATOM enables onboard explosion protection and loss prevention through customised fuel storage that suppresses explosions within the fuel tanks. Moreover, with the increased transition to LPG bunkering, specialised infrastructure will be required for supply, storage, and fuel delivery to ships. ATOM’s solutions are designed to guarantee explosion-safe operation of bunkering vessels and truck tankers as well.

It is possible to prevent fuel explosions to a great extent when a standard safety system is universally adopted for fuel storage and transportation. At ATOM, we deliver sector-specific solutions across a range of industries for fuel storage, transportation, and delivery. 

Are you keen to get onboard? Connect with our team of experts to learn more.

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