The purpose of this report is to inform the reader of current measures in place if a disaster was to occur and improvements that could be made to ensure minimal loss of life. The consequences of ignoring safety will also be briefly mentioned in this report to help the reader understand why safety on board a ship cannot be compromised.
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Lifeboat and an individual’s survival skills are the only means of survival if a disaster was to occur in the sea and/or when the captain orders to abandon the ship. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that these measures in lifeboat protect the seafarer’s life, and enable them to be rescued easily. It is also important that the capacity of the lifeboat is enough to support the population onboard the ship. An incident such as the sinking of Titanic proves to us how important lifeboat safety is. Details about the sinking of Titanic will be discussed later.
This report will focus on Life-saving appliances and rescue of seafarers.
Information’s from internet and books were used to write this report.
2.1 Background Information
In Titanic-Facts website, it is stated that Titanic Sank at the late nights of 14, April 1912. This was the result of a collision with the iceberg. This resulted in the ship sinking with more than a 1500 deaths (Of the 2,201 passengers and crew members who set sail, only 711 Titanic passengers survived.)
The Table below show the number of passengers travelling, number of passengers rescued and number of lives lost.
(Figures adapted from The Titanic story)
The Titanic carried 20 lifeboats. The total capacity of all 20 lifeboats was 1,178 people. However, Only 711 passengers were rescued as the crew were not aware that lifeboats could be lowered safety even when filled to maximum capacity. To make matters worse, No lifeboat drills were conducted, which means the passengers would not know what to do in case of an emergency. (The Titanic Story, 1998)
Passengers did not have a proper excess to lifeboats and many jump out from windows and doorways to get into lifeboats injuring not only themselves but others as well.
These are some of the factors contributing to massive loss of live in the sinking of titanic.
2.2 Effects of Titanic
Titanic probably had the biggest impact on Sea safety regulations. Due to Titanic, SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) was adopted in 1914. (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea(SOLAS), 1974).
SOLAS monitors all safety precautions that should be taken to prevent another disaster like titanic.
Study of the Titanic helps us to understand what actually happened in the management of the crisis and these are some of the invaluable lessons gleaned from research.
The delay in providing survivors with aid exposed them to Cold weather. These harsh conditions meant that they would ultimately face death due to Hypothermia. Hyperthermia is a condition where your body can no longer maintain the standard body temperature 35-37 degree Celsius.
An important lesson learnt is that there is a grave need to rescue victims of disasters expeditiously as time lost usually meant higher casualty rate and the longer duration it took to locate the victims, the lower the probability of finding them alive.
The high casualty rate was also due to Titanic’s lack of expertise in handling such disasters. This was evident in the deployment of inexperienced staff.
An important lesson learnt is that it is important to have a pool of trained personnel or rescue teams operationally ready and available to execute all rescue efforts.
Many passengers did not know to board a lifeboat as they have not been trained and no drills were conduct to teach them how to act if an emergency was to occur.
Therefore, is it necessary that everyone knows what to do if an emergency was to occur and should be prepared to handle it whenever it happens. Thus, they have to be through emergency drills.
Possible emergency in the Future
Most Seafarers are fortunate as they do not encounter disasters of such great magnitude as Titanic. However, it does not mean that Seafarers would never be caught in such terrifying situations.
Based on the lessons learnt, I have developed strategies to prepare Seafarers going onboard should they be caught in a disaster.
Strategies proposed from lessons learnt
My strategies are based on the two important lessons learnt, (i) the importance of a quick response to emergencies and (ii) ensuring self-reliance through a pool of trained personnel always ready to execute rescue operations.
An important lesson learnt from Titanic is that in an emergency, time lost means higher casualty rate. This can be caused by the delay in locating the victims. Consequently, I have developed the idea of equipping every lifeboat with a Disaster Proof Smart Phone (DPSP) that would enable quick location of survivors.
This phone will be equipped with special functions that would enable our seafarers to be located quickly through signals emitted by the smart phone. This can help to minimise any delay caused in locating the injured, thereby allowing the rescue team to respond quickly.
As many developing countries do not have trained search and rescue teams, together with the use of the DPSP, there is a need to set up our very own rescue team, to interpret signals sent out by the DPSP, thereby acting as the “middleman” between government rescue workers and the ones in need(seafarers).
Similarly, our study of Titanic exposed the lack of competence of the Crew in handling the emergency. In such situations, it is important that individuals rely on themselves in times of an emergency. Hence, in coming up with strategies for our target group, we have put in place a workshop to equip our target group with basic survival skills that would be useful in disasters.
Disaster Proof Smart Phone (DPSP)
The DPSP (Fig 3) is different from other smart phones as it contains functions that will be indispensable to the user should he be caught in an emergency in the sea. There are smart phones available in the market but my research shows that there is no such DPSP available yet.
Fig 3smart phone(final) without radio waves.jpg
An important consideration when designing the DPSP was cost. This is because if it is proposed that the DPSP would be issued to all crew and passenger going on board the ship it would be very expensive.
Hence in designing the phone, we have also considered user friendliness and durability of our DPSP to ensure that they appeal to our target audience, and they can be used by large group. Thus, having one in every lifeboat would be sufficient. Further details can be seen in our overview below.
This is an overview of the functions (Fig 5) that we would include in the DPSP.
With these technology in this gadget, It would increase the chances of survival for the passenger or crew members.
6.1.1 Global Positioning System (GPS)
The DPSP would include this function to enable the rescue team to track down the location of missing passengers and send aid to them as soon as possible. This would effectively minimise the delay in rescue effort which would prevent sufferings and the loss of lives.http://www.aero.org/education/primers/gps/images/5steps-illustration.jpg
(Figures adapted: The Aerospace Corporation)
This diagram (Fig 6) ultimately shows how the GPS works
6.1.2 Push-to-talk function (PTT)
PTT function in the DPSP would allow two way communications between the passengers and the Smart Rescue Team (SRT).
This is a standard procedure undertaken by passenger/crew during an emergency (Fig 7)
Firstly, in times of emergency, passengers can make use of the PTT function to contact the rescue team easily from far distances, with just a click of the button. This would allow the rescue team to send aid to them immediately.
Secondly, instructions can be given by the SRT to advise passengers on what to do while help is on the way. Passengers can also be constantly updated on the progress of the rescue operation and status of the crisis.
This function has unlimited geographical reach (PPT DK, 2008) and is not dependent on any operator and thus it can work across different networks. This allows the passengers and the rescue team to communicate effectively through the subscription of PTT.
6.1.3 SOS link
SOS Link provides a visual between the user and the SRT as the current situation of the passengers is being conveyed clearly to the SRT through pictures.
It is a security application that works on smart phones. This application acts as a link between the SRT and Passenger/crew in times of emergencies. In times of emergencies, when the SOS Link application is activated, direct the camera of the smart phone to the emergency. Immediately, the smart phone takes pictures and audio recordings of the emergency and sent to the SRT. The SRT will then make use of these situations to confirm their exact location and the current situations of the passenger/crew. (EvidencePix, 2009)
SOS Link allows the SRT to locate the victims within the shortest time and allows the SRT to have a better understanding of what kind of help and aid is needed, so as not to exhaust resources unnecessarily and save more passenger/crew trapped in the emergency.
Below is a standard procedure undertaken by Passengers or crew members during an emergency.
6.1.3 SOS button for mobile phones
SOS button not only connect the passengers with the SRT, it can also provide updates on the passenger/crew present situations to their friends or families if they want to.
This function can send out messages and information of the current location of the phone user through phone calls, email, SMS, instant messaging and twitter messaging when the button is pressed. It can also be automatically sent out messages if the phone is not switched off before a preconfigured time. (Ltd, 2007)
Even if the passenger/crew are unconscious and are unable to press the button, messages will still be sent out to inform others.
Below is a simple diagram to illustrate how SOS works does:
6.1.4 Internet access
DPSP is equipped with internet capability. It would incorporate with twitter which is a useful communication tool, (Alexa, 2009) it can be used as one of the functions during a disaster to speed up rescue operation and various purposes.
Twitter can be used to forewarn passenger/crew of any impending disaster.
The SRT can also make use of Twitter to send out important information to passenger/crew immediately allowing them to take precautions and be prepared should disasters strike. (Stevens, 2008) Updates on the crisis outside and the approximate time needed for rescue can be reassuring to the victims. Passengers and crew can also update the SRT on their current situation which will allow the SRT to know what kind of help they need and the passenger/crew families about the present situation.
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During a disaster, it is highly possible that passenger/crew will get trapped for long hours under harsh conditions. As current smart phones are not designed to be disaster proof, our group feel that there should be features that strengthen the durability or our DPSP. The following features will be included to ensure a more long lasting smart phone.
6.2.1 Solar Power
We do not dismiss the possibility of survivors being trapped for several days. Thus in order to ensure the durability of the phone during an emergency, it is crucial to have a longer battery life to minimise the possibility of the phone running out of battery in times of disasters, we suggest having mini solar panels inbuilt in the DPSP. These panels work by using Sunlight to provide energy to charge the. (Schwartz, 2009)
Since the phone is for use in the sea, the smart phone should also have a waterproof function. This also prevents the smart phone from being damaged easily.
The smart phone that we have in mind is one that allows users to install, configure and run applications of their choice. (Coustan, 2009) This allows us to include all the essential functions needed in times of emergency which will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the rescue operation. Besides, smartphones also allows different icons to be placed on the homescreen like a shortcut button. This allow users to personalise their smartphones and gain access to essentail functions easily and quickly, such as emergency functions. (Alex, 2004) Thus, with these technology and communication gadgets, we hope that we will be able to reach out better to our target group who is more tech-savvy. (Smith, 2004)
Since it is very likely for victims to be trapped or knocked unconscious, our group suggests that our passenger/crew using the DPSP must be able to use it easily even though they may be restricted in their actions or are about to lose their conscious. Thus the DPSP should be designed in a way that can allow passenger/crew to contact the SRT effortlessly.
6.3.1 Emergency tab
In order to allow the victims to alert the SRT easily and effortlessly, we came out with the idea of including an emergency tab in the DPSP. It can be triggered by pulling out a tab, such that an alarm will sound and an emergency light flashes. The alarm is used to alert the rescuers of the location of the passangers, thereby minimising time wastage. (Ubergizmo, 2008)
In addition to those functions mentioned earlier, we also have other functions which serve to complement rescue efforts
We have also decided to include a pre-recorded podcast programme in the DPSP itself. These podcasts will come in the form of videos to remind victims of the appropriate steps to take during a disaster. We propose including motivational and encouraging songs in the form of media files. It also serves to sooth these victims down, minimise any stress or trauma they are experiencing, thereby encouraging them to persevere on and stay strong till help arrives.
As the DPSP have functions that maybe unfamiliar to many users. Thus, a workshop has to be conducted. This workshop is not only for the use of the smart phone but also to educate the passengers and crew members on how to react and what should be done in case an emergency should occur.
The workshop would include:
1) Hands on session on the use of the DPSP.
2) Standard Operation procedures on what to do in an emergency. (Includes what each person supposed to do in a lifeboat during the course of being rescued)
3) Where to get their lifejacket and DPSP in such an unfortunate event.
Smart Rescue Team (SRT)
To complement our previous strategies, we propose creating a disaster DPSP rescue team that is armed with the necessary equipments to respond to signals sent out by the student’s smart phone, thereby locating passenger/crew quickly for the local taskforce there to rescue them. Furthermore, not all the countries in the world have highly skilled disaster rescue team that can effectively carry out the rescue operation to save the people, especially in less developed countries. There is thus a need to be self-sufficiency. (Gawel, 2006)
From Titanic, we leant that the time taken for the rescue team to locate surviving victims is too long. Thus, the setting up of this organisation will ensure a significant increase in the efficiency of the local rescue team time needed to find them will be greatly minimised.
Besides, with this first hand information of the survivors’ coordinates disseminated to them, rescue teams are then allowed more planning time in their rescue routes and plans, thereby speeding up rescue efforts.
These measures would be able to minimise the number of casualties of passenger in cruise ships. The functions of our DPSP serve to improve the connectivity between the passengers/crews and the SRT so as to minimise time wastage in locating the ones in need. Similarly, it also serves to provide emotional support to the passengers in distraught. Our SRT is specially trained to receive and react to information sent out via the passenger/crew DPSP. Through the workshop, these passengers/crew would be trained to be better prepared for any emergency and equipped with skills to rely on themselves.
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