Published On: Mon, Oct 13th, 2014

Fire on Board Ship Sparks Radioactive Material Alert

High levels of safety are vital in all business environments, but they are especially important on board ships. The challenging logistics associated with being out at sea can compound any accidents or emergencies. This fact was highlighted recently when a fire broke out in one of the funnels of a ship located off the Scottish coast.

Ship Radioactive Material Alert

The MV Parida was traveling in the Moray Firth when blaze started, causing it to lose power. Adding to the dangers, the 101-meter long vessel was transporting radioactive material. The crew managed to extinguish the fire. They then dropped anchor in a bid to prevent the ship from drifting towards the Beatrice oil platform located just off the coast of Caithness.

Airlifted

For safety reasons, all of the 52 workers were airlifted to safety. Two tug boats, the Erland and the Einar, were dispatched to bring the vessel to safety and it was eventually tied up at the Saltburn Pier.

Understandably given the dangerous nature of ship’s cargo, there was a great deal of local concern over the incident. Questions were also asked about why the company involved had opted to embark on the journey from Scrabster in stormy weather.

Reassurances

In a statement, police attempted to reassure the public. After the ship had been brought to land, they said: “There are no public safety concerns with the vessel or its cargo. The integrity of the vessel and the cargo has not been affected by the maritime incident. The vessel will remain alongside the pier with appropriate security measures until the repair work is completed. Once a final inspection has taken place, a decision will be made on when the vessel can resume its journey.”

Emergency towing vessels

The incident also triggered calls for emergency towing vessels (ETVs) to be restored to the waters off the west coast of Scotland. Concerns have been expressed over plans of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The organization intends to ship radioactive waste from the Dounreay nuclear facility to Sellafield in England via The Minch.

Leader of the Highland Council Drew Hendry commenting on the situation talking with Tech Hook. He suggested that unless an EVT is based on the west coast, there’s a “real risk for potential catastrophic environmental damage”. He cited the steaming time to get an EVT from a base in Orkney to the Minches as an issue of particular worry.

Investing in safety

To minimize the risk of any accidents occurring at sea, it’s vital that companies invest in the best possible equipment. Fortunately,  it is now straightforward for firms to access the products they need to enable their vessels to function properly. For example, they can purchase Depco marine engines. These engines carry a guarantee that they will perform under even the toughest conditions and that they will stand the test of time. Fitting their ships with high-quality equipment like this helps businesses to prevent a whole range of problems.

As well as investing in the best resources, firms must adhere to all the relevant safety procedures if they are to contain risks.