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APPENDIX E CONTINGENCY PI~NNING AND PREPARATION Contingency plans for tourist submersibles should contain, as a minimum: 1. Emergencies by category (well indexed). This should come from the vulnerability or hazards analysis that goes through potential threats to establish which hazards ought to have the highest priority in developing a comprehensive disaster mitigation program. Having well-indexed plans that can be easily read and understood by personnel not fully trained is important. In addition, since there is always the possibility that key personnel will be either involved in the accident, or otherwise be unavailable, having trained backup personnel and adequate written instructions is important. Copies of the plans should be placed in advance and kept current at the locations of personnel expected to be called on for assistance. 2. Actions to be taken for each emergency. Should contain specifications for Who Does What" (1) on scene, (2) by support craft, (3) ashore, and (4) other functions. 3. Responsibility. Responsibility should be clearly defined for each aspect and phase. There can be no doubt at every stage of a major disaster that failure to have clear lines of authority and responsibility nearly always contributes to making the disaster worse. Without clear definition of authority and responsibility, when an emergency comes, there will always be additional confusion in figuring out who is in charge. In addition, throughout the emergency, there is apt to be confusion as various individuals jockey for authority or try to duck responsibility. Unfortunately this situation is generally worse if there are several qualified and competent people involved. When there is a predetermined line of authority and responsibility it is much easier for everyone to work together to solve problems. If things go well, there will always be plenty of glory to go around. If they don't go well, there will, likewise, be plenty of blame for everyone. For example, with most emergencies, primary action must be taken immediately by the pilot of the submersible. In most cases he will resolve the emergency successfully, and no other person will be required to take charge. However, if the submersible is trapped on the bottom, does the operator of the surface support craft become the overall person in charge, or does the chief pilot, or the general manager, or some other individual? Obviously there are many choices, and in some circumstances each would be the correct choice. This needs to be thought out in advance. and spelled n',t in the nine 4. — --of 7 ~ vr~ AJAR AA1 ~~— ~lOll~- Personnel to be notified and how. Prompt notification of the Coast Guard in the event of a casualty is important and should be high on the priority list of notifications to be made. The U.S. Navy has a SubMiss/SubSunk emergency alert and contingency plan (see AppendLx F). If this is to be included, and it probably should be, then the means of rapid notification and the responsibility to do so must be planned. It was U.S. Navy assistance that provided the key assistance in the rescue of personnel from a trapped submersible in the North Sea some years ago. They have responded in several other submersible accidents. Flyaway deep-diving capability, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), experienced search personnel and ships are some of the capabilities they may be able to provide. Both fleet submarine force commanders have submarine rescue plans and personnel. In the event of the loss of a U.S. commercial submersible these resources ought be brought into action at the earliest possible moment. The National Search and Rescue Plan requires that this be done through the Coast Guard. 104
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5. Equipment to be mobilized. Should be broken down by: (1) own staff, (2) government agencies, and (3) contract. The discussion must include not only what equipment, but how it is to be moved, by whom, and where it is to be taken. The necessary means for this mobilization must be provided. When the equipment is not owned by the company involved, contracts need to be in place. If the equipment is not maintained and, where necessary, calibrated, it will generally prove to need this sort of attention at the most inopportune time. . PREPARATIONS This area deals with the drills and training to be conducted and how they are to be conducted. Specific areas to be included in the drills and training follow (the listing is not intended to be comprehensive). It is critical that each of these plans be exercised from time to time to ensure they work and are kept current. Communications equipment not exercised will invariably fail when most required. Medical personnel will change. Necessary fire and ambulance personnel will either be unable to respond, or will not know what is expected of them. Divers will either not be available, or their equipment will not function. Phone numbers have a way of changing. Rescue/Salvage/Recovery Plan This plan should cover responsibilities, personnel, and equipment. It is intended here that the salvage plan be one that is immediately available since this may be the only practical means of rescue of trapped personnel in a sunken submersible. However, in addition to the salvage plan, plans should be developed for the rescue of those stranded, if there is any practical means to accomplish this. Again, it is to be noted that in the past, salvage of the submersible has proven to be the means of rescue for those trapped. Having the drawings of the vessel available both at the command center and with the salvage crew is a critical element that should not be overlooked. Frequently the ability to understand the systems and to improvise using them is critical to the operation. Communications Plan Communications equipment for an emergency is always inadequate. In addition, frequently much of it does not work. Frequently plans do not have sufficient additional communications for things like the press, for routine purposes, and for the emergency. When planning a real disaster type of operation, one should plan for additional telephone lines in large quantity, and both mobile phones and radios. The press can and will monitor radio transmissions, and they will use this information as the basis for stories, regardless of the clear law in this area. (The Navy's experience with the space shuttle Challenger disaster, as well as many other similar experiences, shows this to be the case.) Emergency Medical Plan Medical problems associated with the possible rescue of personnel from a lost submersible can be outside the normal understanding of the local medical community and require someone who understands submarine medicine. Specifically this may include the need for hyperbaric treatment of the passengers, including development of some sort of decompression protocol. 105
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Fire and Ambulance Plan The pumping ability of the local fire department can be valuable in an emergency, as is their medical training. Diving Support Plan Leo divers should be available on the surface safety support vessel and in the vicinity of the submersible in the event that an emergency should arise. The diving plan should include plans for mobilization of additional divers. These divers should be familiar with the design and engineering aspects of the submersible, and should be able to perform emergency work on the vessel if required to free it from entrapment on the bottom or to exercise its external safety features. A source of additional diving air should be noted in the plan, and the location of spare diving equipment should be spelled out. An ROV should be available on short notice as a regular part of the plan. Emergency Gas Support Plan This item is intended to include both compressed air and other compressed gases that might be required to sustain the life support system in a sunken submersible and rescue or salvage the submersible. Public Affairs Plan This might seem a minor point, but in the event of a serious disaster, the lack of such a plan can and will detract from the ability of all responsible parties to work on the real problem, as they will be continually pulled away to brief the press. FACTORS AFFECTING SALVAGE OTHER THAN CONTINGENCY PI^NS Submersible design factors such as the following must be taken into account: · Salvage air fittings with standard connections and valves, for running air hoses from the surface to a vessel on the bottom. Both high and low fittings should be addressed. Standard mating rings for rescue (at least one hatch). ~~ ---I-' . luls would permit mating of a decompression chamber to the submersible after salvage, in the unlikely event that it were pressurized. This can be accomplished by providing a transition or adaptor section, known as a "Dutchman," which will mate to the hatch of the submarine and the other face will mate to whatever is determined to be the industry standard. · Standard lifting attachments to provide points for attachment in the event of an external lift requirement. These should be able to provide sufficient lift in the event of flooding of the hull. They must be designed so that they can be connected to an ROV if the submersible is to be operated in water depths beyond those accessible by divers. · Standard emergency through-water telephone equipment compatible with rescue or potential rescue equipment. In addition, a transponder that can be interrogated by a search vehicle will greatly enhance the ability of a rescue effort to find a submersible lost on the bottom. · Sufficient emergency hose and other equipment to permit mounting an initial salvage/rescue attempt should be propositioned and available. (This might entail use of U.S. Government facilities and/or equipment positioned in the continental United States.) 106
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Operational features which will facilitate rescue or salvage in an emergency are: · mutual assistance plans among operators and others; · prior planning with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard elements who would be involved in any rescue attempt; · exchange of plans with above in order to ensure optimum coordination; and · coordinated communications plans, including radio frequency assignments, that include means for rapid contact with nearby Coast Guard and Navy facilities capable of rapid response help. 107
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