5.1. Risk assessment

Situation should be assessed and the rescue possibilities considered based on the latest information from the DV and the HNS experts. If an intervention is possible, the decision regarding activities onboard the DV should be made in consultation with RCC (SMC and group of experts) and master of the DV. The rescue action plan should be updated to respond possible alterations and units informed about the plan. The common situation awareness between participating unit should be confirmed (SITREP) .

5.2. Early phase response
5.2.1. Distress vessel

The first rescue plans and immediate actions onboard the DV have to be made by the crew onboard. Often assistance of the SAR organization can be delayed for several hours or more and the rescue or/and response measures are often easier and most effective to execute in the early stage.  The most important tasks to organize are protection and safety for persons onboard (incl. emergency decontamination procedures and emergency medical care), preventive response measures and detection, measurement or estimation of the leakage.

5.2.2. SMC / OSC

Consultation with the master of the DV concerning the rescue action plan (SMC, experts) should be done in early planning phase. Master of the DV should be informed also of the possible need to assistance the rescue teams by the DV crew actions. The Situation Report (SITREP) prior initiating the entry team boarding procedures should be requested: Information from the DV is needed regarding the situation of the HNS release, ongoing and planned rescue or response activities by the DV crew.

5.3. Rescue procedures
5.3.1. Preparation

Master of the SRU should assign the initial entry preparations onboard the SRU. Following procedures should be completed in situation there is an intention to execute rescue actions onboard the DV:

  • Decontamination station is set up, tested and operational
  • First aid/Emergency medical care facilities are operational
  • All persons involved have the knowledge, understanding and agreement of their role(s) and planned activities in the operation
  • Ensure that controlled boarding system is established.

Rescue teams (entry team, backup team and decontamination team) should be prepared according to the organizational and/or unit specific procedures. Protection of the rescue personnel and equipment should be based on the latest risk assessment and hazard identification. At least Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) level, detection/monitoring equipment, emergency decontamination procedures (e.g. mobile emergency decontamination shower or water hose etc. to flush down the contaminant), communication channels and outside supervision of the teams have to be organized before launching the boarding procedures of the rescue teams. Arrange logistics for provision of the sufficient and suitable PPE, other consumable materials and spare parts.

 5.3.2. Entry procedure

Prior entering to the Hot Zone, the emergency decontamination station near entry point should be established and tested. Confirm procedures that both chemical rescue teams (entry and backup team) are at the entry point prior authorization the entry team to enter the Hot Zone. Entry team is allowed to enter the Hot Zone only by permit of the responsible rescue operation leader.

5.3.3. Rescue activities onboard

Rescue activities are based on the rescue plan and the tasks given to the boarding rescue teams by the RCC. First rescue teams boarding the distress vessel can also give valuable information of the situation to RCC for updating the risk assessment and the rescue plan.

Possible tasks for the rescue teams onboard can be for example:

  • Support the communication between DV and RCC
  • Risk assessment onboard, supporting the master of the vessel for decision making
  • Preventive response measures and detection
  • Minimizing the influence of the HNS, e.g.
    • Restricting or stopping the leakage
    • Neutralizing the substance
  • Emergency medical service
  • Medical evacuation
  • Emergency decontamination procedures
  • Preparations of the ship abandoning/MRO.
5.3.4. Disembarking

Safe disembarking procedures for the rescue teams and casualties should be ensured. First stage decontamination (or emergency decontamination) should be done onboard distress vessel if possible. Chemical rescue teams operated in the Hot Zone must be decontaminated despite if there has not been the actual contact with the substance. Arrange safe disembarking and decontamination process for the affected and injured persons.