Weather data crucial for maritime emergency responses

Navigating the seas and oceans is a tough job even under the best of circumstances. Shipmasters, fleet operators and planners bear enormous responsibility for revenue, costs and the safety of their crews. They know that sound weather-related decisions are essential to their operations. MeteoGroup Shipping and Marine department combines weather, seafaring and routing expertise to deliver the world’s most comprehensive solution. It starts with expert weather analysis, continues with guidance from expert mariners who understand ships and shipping, and is topped-off by an expert routing network that improves both utilization and safety.

Emergencies and the weather
An emergency can occur even when all precautions are taken. And at sea even a small mishap can quickly grow into a major calamity. That’s where the Emergency Response services of MeteoGroup come in.

Weather information is a crucial part of every rescue operation. Even in bad weather, the maximum must be done to save the ship and its cargo, without taking unnecessary risks. Salvage specialists like Boskalis, Multraship and Ardent have framework agreements with MeteoGroup and if such events occur, regardless of the time of day, they can call on the service’s meteorologists staffing the MeteoGroup Weather Room 24/7. These will provide the first detailed weather information and oceanographic data needed to make the rescue operation as safe and smooth as possible.

A few cases where MeteoGroup was involved:

Fire at sea
In March this year, in the Arabian Sea Dutch marine services provider Boskalis successfully extinguished a blazing fire on a modern and ultra-large container ship. When the large fire broke out on the Honam, 900 nautical miles southeast of Oman, Boskalis was approached to get it under control and save the ship.

That’s when the Emergency Response process kicks in. With some 30 Boskalis people mobilized from Singapore and the Netherlands, the MeteoGroup Weather Room was contacted in Wageningen in the Netherlands. The salvage team were given daily forecasts throughout the operation.

Capsized cargo ship Britannica in the English Channel
Also in March, the 82-meter-long cargo ship Britannica capsized in the English Channel after colliding with the fishing vessel Deborah, about 50 nautical miles northeast of Cherbourg in France. The wreck of the Britannica was drifting westwards, upside-down, at 3 knots. French rescue tug Abeille Liberté was dispatched to the scene immediately, while MeteoGroup was called to deliver the weather info. Just two days after the collision, the capsized cargo ship arrived alongside the pier in Le Havre.

Wreck of the Kea Trader
In July 2017 the container vessel Kea Trader went aground.  Salvage company Ardent immediately went into emergency response mode. One aspect of the important information needed in such response actions is the MetOcean conditions (MetOcean = meteorology and (physical) oceanography). As Ardent started its actions, MeteoGroup was asked to assist with its weather forecasts. The salvage operation was not only performed on water; helicopters were used to offload containers from the vessel. The vessel ultimately broke in two under the pounding of the waves. At that stage, wreck removal companies were invited to submit a tender. Ardent used MeteoGroup’s MetOcean knowledge and data to prepare the operation in as much detail as possible. Specific information about the wind, waves, and extreme conditions like the typhoon season, and its impact, were crucial in building a solid removal plan.

Baltic Ace Salvage
In December 2012 the car carrier Baltic Ace sank with more than 1,400 cars on board after colliding with a container ship, near the entrance to the main shipping lane leading to Rotterdam port. The Dutch Government (Rijkswaterstaat) contracted Boskalis and its partner Mammoet Salvage for the wreck removal operation. Boskalis was called for assistance immediately after the accident, and they in turn called on MeteoGroup to provide weather information. Boskalis was ultimately appointed for the final salvage operation, using a method similar to that of their successful Kursk salvage many years previously. They decided to cut the ship, including its contents, and to salvage each part, ending by cleaning the seabed. MeteoGroup delivered the detailed local weather forecasts during the entire successful operation.

For more information: See Offshore Forecasts

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