It is time to highlight the need of sufficient medical oxygen onboard vessels in case of a medical emergency. Leading maritime safety specialist Survitec is doing just that. If crews and passengers become ill with respiratory infections, medical oxygen is key to treat the emergency safely and efficiently. Let us take a look at how to ensure this is a possibility for all involved.
Code and Guidelines
IMDG Code and MFAG guidelines require operators to carry 44 liters of medical oxygen at 200-bar as a minimum. However, Survitec recommends increasing that current bottom line to ensure sufficient availability onboard. Should crew members contract COVID-19 or any other type of respiratory infection, the current amount could be problematic. “The current minimum may not be enough in the event of a new outbreak,” said Jan-Oskar Lid, Global Technical Sales Manager of Fire, Rescue & Safety, Survitec.
More Accurate Estimates
The current guidelines only require vessels to carry enough oxygen to treat one patient, in theory. There would likely not be enough for multiple patients or even one patient who needed oxygen for more than 5 and ½ hours. COVID-19 can deplete human oxygen to dangerous levels extremely quickly. “Although the number of cylinders stored onboard depends on a range of factors such as the number of crew/passengers, type of cargoes carried and sailing/operating area, clearly, the current minimum will not be enough to treat multiple persons infected with the virus. We, therefore, recommend that ship/offshore installation operators and owners increase the number of cylinders they currently have on board,” said Lid.
Changes Being Made
Survitec has partnered with Netherlands-based Lagaay Internationals to champion its plan to increase medical oxygen for vessels. Joris Alberda, Managing Director, Lagaay International, said: “Survitec supplies a range of ancillary medical equipment to the global maritime industry, including oxygen delivery systems and resuscitators, all of which are compatible with our MedOx cylinders. We will now work with Survitec to ensure the maritime industry demand for medical oxygen can be met.”
We will keep an eye on this topic as it develops.