Watertight doors - the eternal debate

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The Dieselduck
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Watertight doors - the eternal debate

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:45 am

Last month I was at the Maritech in Ottawa and the head of the TSB was making a speech about safety in shipping, and was referencing the Queen of the North accident in her presentation. She brought up a comment about watertight doors on that doomed ship, and how they were left open, but remotely closed when flooding was detected - which to me sounded like a reasonable practice.

Much like the Costa Concordia, and Titanic for that matter, there is just no real protection for ships with that type of damage, but watertight doors seem to be the logical culprit in these disasters.

Having worked on numerous types of ships this conundrum raise its head every so often, should we or should we not have watertight doors closed during normal transits - during stand by, etc.

On large passenger ships with upwards of 15-20 watertight compartment - just in the engineering spaces, keeping water tight doors pose a risk to response to issues, and normal operations, as well as a real threat to personal safety while transiting these doors. Now in Canada we have ancient ships with ancient manual, sloppy fit, sloppy manual dogs and all, but on a modern ship, with serious hydraulic operated watertight doors, this is a real problem, having caused deaths and dismemberment on board ships. Lets face it, at the first sign of alarm, the response is to go investigate, no matter what the instrument tell us, so having watertight doors closed, just delays this response.

So my question is this - is there specific regulation dealing with this - when and where watertight doors in machinery spaces are operated - (I don't believe there is... but). Is there a source of information on best practices for this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MB9JDzBuLQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5Bd5SinHmA ( i love the warning bell on this, very helpful actually, not just clever)
Martin Leduc
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Brad
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Re: Watertight doors - the eternal debate

Postby Brad » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:45 am

That's Hilarious Martin,

What's the Regulation on the bell? Standard klaxxon? Or does it matter?
Maybe there are royalty issues on the ice cream jingle?
I can only Imagine what a sewage alarm sounds like..

Still chuckling,

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The Dieselduck
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Re: Watertight doors - the eternal debate

Postby The Dieselduck » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:12 am

Yeah I'm sure those copyright nazis from Hollywood will be up in arms fer sure.
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JK
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Re: Watertight doors - the eternal debate

Postby JK » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:52 am

LOL about the klaxon.
I never sailed on a ship that shut the WT doors normally,even in Arctic ice. But, that was long ago, in a not-so-far away place.Everything was tested on Safety Sunday to ensure local and remote shutting.
Passenger ships would fall under stricter rules and the Queen of the North was old enough to not meet modern down flooding regs , was she not?

If half of the engine room side shell is torn away like on the Concordia, closed doors aren't going to make a snowball in hell much of a difference.

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Re: Watertight doors - the eternal debate

Postby JFC » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:11 pm

Te eternal debate is an interesting topic.....

Lets face it, there are two fundamental principles which guarantee safe passage through a power-operated watertight door, irrespective of the operating mechanism and operational mode.......1) Always open the door fully before passing through, and 2) Never pass through a door that is closing...... Simple. We all follow these ....right?

As for your question there are SOLAS rules. Under SOLAS, defaut is local control, with exceptions: One exception is "confined waters" . Doors closing on the remote operting console at the navigation bridge must be capable of closing in not more than 60 seconds....Each shall be provided with an audible alarm, which will sound when ever the door is closed remotely for at least 5 seconds but not more than 10 seconds before the door starts to move. This alarm is to sound continuously during closure while the door is moving. In high noise areas the alarm may be supplemented ay an intermittent visual signal. Whatever system is in use it must be capable on boths side of the bulkhead. There must also be means to be provided in the navigation brddge deck to indicate open or closed watertight doors. All doors should have a uniform rate of closure. The closing time the begins to move shall in no case be less than 20 seconds or more than 40 seconds (SOLAS).

The big risks for a Chief Engineer or a Superintendent setting protocols for your vessel(s) is the risk of change, training and familiarization. If you change a protocol onboard a ship, you need to first consider the risk to the crews and their practises to date. A practice of door constantly closed at sea can be seen as cumbersome by some people. Open and closed locally can also stir the debate.
With reduced crew complements, this often results in many deck crew and others being part of the fire party, and it is vital not only for the engineers to be familiar with the WT door operations but also the entire crew because in an emergency they may find themselves opening and closing doors. So the debate can rage on.

I hope this helps, or at least stimulates the discussion around "running on Local control" or "running on remote control" ........which is better?.......ha!

Cheers,


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