distress ship

What are preparations / actions when approaching a distress ship?

Preparations when approaching a distress ship:
  1. Prepare hospital to receive casualties
  2. Plot rendezvous position and possible search patterns
  3. Stand by communication officer and establish communication
  4. Pass own position and details with relevant search and rescue operation update to RCC
  5. Prepare rescue boat and emergency crew
  6. Obtain current weather situation
  7. Highlight navigational dangers to own ship
  8. Maintain own ship at operational status
  9. Navigate on manual steering
  10. Obtain update on target information
  11. Note activities in log book
  12. Maintain internal and external communication
  13. Brief operational personnel’s. (OOW, boat coxswain)
  14. Rig Guest wrap (a rope that extends from forward to aft).
  15. Plot position and prevailing currents estimate drift
  16. Post look-outs high as area is entered
  17. Provide information to engine room advice on standby manoeuvring speed
  18. Radar operational at various ranges, long range scanning and plotting ongoing
  19. Advise owner , agents and reschedule ETA
  20. Update RCC/MRCC.
  21. Advice owners agents and reschedule ETA
  22. Obtain weather reports.
Duties of chief officer when approaching distress ship :
  1. Rig a good strong rope from bow to quarter (guest wrap).
  2. Rig derrick on each side with platform cargo sling ready to help injured or helpless survivors out of water.
  3. Rig fenders on each side- to bring lifeboats safely alongside.
  4. Get rescue boat ready and crew standby, keep liferaft ready but do not inflate.
  5. Check rescue boat equipments.
  6. Proper communication between rescue boat and vessel.
  7. Medical party and first aid party standby.
  8. Ships signalling equipment and LTA standby.
 Action when approaching the distress:
  1. Post extra lookouts.
  2. Reduced speed and manual steering employed.
  3. Continuous radar watch.
  4. Get in touch with RCC and follow instructions.
  5. Make own vessel visible to survivors- at night signalling lamp and by day black smoke or use ships whistle.
  6. Do not dump anything overboard- this may confuse the survivors.
Factors that are taken into account when choosing on scene commander:
  1. On board communication equipment.
  2. Whether doctor or trained medical staff on board.
  3. Hospital and casualty treatment facilities.
  4.  Vessels characteristics- freeboard, speed manoeuvrability ETA.


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