Anatomy of an Accident: Marine Insurer Dissects Major Casualty Response

Image credit: The Swedish Club

Picture this scenario… a chemical tanker laden with caustic soda has lost engine power and is drifting in high winds and seas just 43 nautical miles from shore. Tugs attempt to control the drifting tanker, but the attempt fails and the vessel runs aground.

This nightmare scenario is the focus of a new publication titled “Anatomy of an Accident” by the marine insurance company, The Swedish Club, providing a unique insight into a massive coordinated exercise surrounding a serious vessel casualty. The guide, illustrating just how easily an incident can escalate, explores the various parties and processes involved in dealing with an emergency situation, and the complicated interplay between the cast of professionals involved in bringing an incident to a resolution.

Lars A. Malm, Director, Strategic Business Development and Client Relations, said: “When an accident takes place, the emergency plan comes into play, but can the operator be sure that it works? On paper it may look fine – however reality is often a different matter. We need to simulate that reality, and so we developed Emergency Response Training to help ship operators become better at emergencies before they happen.”

Developed out of The Swedish Club’s Emergency Response Training program, Anatomy of an Accident focuses on a realistic incident scenario run by the Club with participants that included DNV GL, HRS Sør-Norge, Navigate Response, The Norwegian Coastal Administration, The Norwegian Maritime Authority and T&T Salvage. The approach has been designed to test how operations are affected when dealing with an incident, reinforce who is responsible for which action during an emergency, and ensure that a shipowner’s emergency response plan works with the individual elements interacting and supporting one another should a real life crisis occur.

The scenario covers an incident involving the fictional chemical tanker ‘Uswidia’, laden with caustic soda and caught up in the nightmare scenario of lost engine power, drifting in high winds, injured crew and eventually grounding and hull breach.

“It is an immense job – a company cannot hope to set up such a situation for themselves. Should an incident become a reality there is no doubt that an organisation that has been proactive in testing its established emergency plans, and made the most of the Club’s expertise and guidance, will see a big difference in the way a real-life incident is handled – in terms of saving lives, protecting the environment and minimising costs in many areas”, Malm added.

You can find the full whitepaper Anatomy of an Accident on the Swedish Club’s website.