Meeting of the EMSA Panel on Double Hull Tankers

The EMSA Panel on Double Hull Tankers held its 5th meeting on 1 February 2005. The meeting concluded its discussions on a list of items considered relevant to safety aspects on double hull tankers. This time, the Panel discussed hazards linked to cargo migration into void and ballast spaces through cracks and the need for permanent inerting or, alternatively installation of equipment for gas detection.

The Panel agreed that permanent inerting with flue gas to deal with a remote possibility of cargo migration might trigger more negative effects than benefits . On the other hand, it was noted that some large double hull tankers are already equipped with devices for gas detection and that, according to experience so far, these are simple to operate and reliable. However, these devices should be seen as a fall back emergency monitoring system. Portable equipment will still need to be used in checking the atmosphere before entering into enclosed spaces.  

The Panel also recognised that these devices are efficient in detecting hydrocarbon gases and therefore will be less efficient if installed in chemical/parcel tankers that would frequently transport other types of cargo. Due regard should also be given to the efficiency of the use of such detection equipment on smaller sized, multiple compartmented tankers, usually less exposed to potential cracks between cargo tanks and empty adjacent spaces.  

The second subject discussed by the Panel at this meeting was related to a harmonised inspection regime during ship construction. The Panel has finalised its initial activity and will now proceed to draft the report of its activity. The next meeting to discuss the draft report will be held on 31 March 2005 with a possible release of the final report and its recommendations by the end of 2005. 

Contact: Dragos Rauta