Could blood alcohol tests on board prevent maritime accidents?

The newly delivered Siem Aristotle car transporter (file image courtesy of Siem)

Posted on August 31, 2021 at 11:58 AM by

The maritime executive

All segments of society are victims of accidents caused by alcohol poisoning, including trips and falls, drunk driving accidents and, sadly, alcohol strandings and crashes. .

The risk of a marine accident caused by excessive alcohol consumption is very real, as illustrated by the damage to the cruise ship Nippon Maru in 2018 or the near destruction of Busan’s Gwangan Bridge in 2019. Even when intoxication aboard a ship is detected before an accident occurs, the arrests that make the headlines of captains and members alike drunk crew are always unwanted advertising.

In the maritime industry, the blood alcohol test is usually performed after an accident, but for practical reasons it is not used as part of the daily routine on board ships. This is changing on vessels operated by the Polish company Siem Ship Management: Siem has decided to implement its “zero tolerance” alcohol-free policy with a new state-of-the-art fully automated breathalyzer. It is perhaps the only company in the industry that sets up automated equipment for regular testing of its officers and crew along the way.

Siem says the “K-NOX” device he installs on his ships provides a high-precision, low-error means of ensuring crew members are sober before taking the call or going to work. on the bridge. The system is a self-service unit with serious anti-fraud features including personal access code, personal RFID tag verification, fingerprinting and face registration at the end of the visit. test. The procedure takes approximately 30 seconds and requires no oversight by witnesses or officers, which minimizes the impact on the workload and schedule of the crew. He sends his results to managers via the ship’s internet connection immediately, with a check transmitted to shore personnel as well as the captain.

“There is no doubt that the system prevents abnormalities in human behavior and reduces the risk of incidents. The construction and sensitivity of this unit is such that we can avoid any form of test error, and it is virtually impossible to bypass the device without being detected, ”says a senior manager of Siem Ship Management.

The company says its insurers, flag administrators and port state control inspectors have welcomed this investment and that its charterers appreciate the added measure of human error protection.

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