Shipmanagers have pledged to go above and beyond international maritime regulatory requirements in their onboard provision of medical oxygen – to be better able to save the lives of crew at sea.
The move follows a life-threatening scenario when a seafarer suffering from Covid-19 almost died during a long ocean crossing due to a shortage of oxygen. InterManager members discussed the situation and agreed unanimously to double their onboard provision of oxygen from the standard one 40 litre cylinder to two. They also recommend stocking oxygen concentrators which can provide a continuous flow.
Announcing the new measure, InterManager president Mark O’Neil, who is also president of Columbia Shipmanagement, explained: “This distressing incident highlighted the short comings of the existing requirement for onboard oxygen, particularly when dealing with Covid-19 which can have very serious respiratory effects.
“Crossing the Pacific Ocean can take 12 days, and it’s seven to eight days to cross the Atlantic. One cylinder of oxygen would not last that long in a medical emergency, which would result in crew members having to ration a patient as they desperately tried to keep them alive until shore could be reached or a medivac arranged.”
He continued: “I’m very grateful to Anglo Eastern for highlighting this issue. It was a matter InterManager members took very seriously and responded to immediately with decisive action. We believe the regulations are not adequate and we need to do more to safeguard the lives of our crew.”
Working with the procurement platform GenPro, Columbia has secured a low price for InterManager members to obtain oxygen concentrators and cylinders on a bulk-buy no-profit deal.