Enclosed space incidents are one of the major causes of occupational deaths aboard ship, and indications are that this is not improving. As well as toxic vapours, lack of oxygen in spaces is a major hazard. This is due to cargo leaching oxygen from the atmosphere or from corrosion in the space. While the hazard is acknowledged the alarming speed at which oxygen is removed is not well understood. This webinar will discuss research and physical modelling carried out by the author which aims to determine the rate at which oxygen depletes in enclosed spaces.
The project was conducted using oxygen depletion experiments on scrap metal in sealed and open vented containers. In addition, the speed of oxygen depletion in a replicated chain locker is investigated as well as the natural refreshment of the chain locker. It is necessary to highlight the speed of oxygen depletion in cargo hold situations and other enclosed spaces and prevent loss of life in these dangerous spaces. In the oxygen-depleted atmosphere within an enclosed space, there is no sensory indication to cause alarm regarding the dangers within that space. Therefore the results of the experiments must be seen as a significant step in raising awareness of the dangers within an enclosed space, in improving health and safety standards and preventing loss of lives at sea. This webinar will also discuss considerations for regulations and training that could inform future actions, and will also consider this issue in relation to an ongoing project to reduce enclosed space deaths.
The research has been carried out in conjunction with the City of Glasgow College with the involvement of Dr Manhal Alnasser and Dr Linus Reichenbach. The paper - Oxygen Depletion in Enclosed Spaces - recently won the Research Project of the Year in The Herald Higher Education Awards 2021.
About the Speaker
Donal Burke served in the Irish Merchant Marine with Irish Shipping Ltd, from Engineer Cadet to Chief Engineer Officer Level and holder of a First Class Combined Certificate of Competency, prior to entering into the teaching of Marine Engineering in Cork. Subsequently becoming Head of the Nautical Studies Department at Cork Institute of Technology, and finally as Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland. Retiring in 2006 he became a consultant in Marine Engineering in the new build of the Angolan Maritime College in Sumbe working with the Architects, GCNS and the Sponsors to bring the concept to fruition. Thereafter: as Secretary of the Stena Association of Maritime Institutes (STAMI) for several years. Currently involved in research into oxygen depletion in enclosed spaces from June 2015 to the present time.
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