Emergency Preparedness – 5
The Tipping Point!
In a large number of cases the emergencies on ships are short term due to the response mechanism embedded in the design, manning and operating regulations and standards set by the IMO (International Maritime Organization). & the flag states of the ships
In some cases though the situation prevails longer and can also become worse. Once the ‘emergency’ has arisen the very control is diluted – the control to maintain the ship in the standard seaworthy condition – and the causes can be many from the accidental to unlawful – piracy / terrorism like causes…. those are the initiating factors, but once the situation is launched it is highly scientific …… it involves the laws of flotation, the laws of pressure-temperatures-volumes, chemical properties and mechanics as a minimum.
Human physiology and psychology keep playing a major role. It either disturbs or helps to improve the situation. The raw-natural elements all around the ship can make a huge difference! The physiology and psychology of those on the ship as well their directing teams ashore and the rescue teams who brave the adverse conditions so as to rescue the staff if needed !
A seasoned and weathered leader on the ship – he/she being the Captain or other officer playing a key role or even a passenger who becomes an accidental important lead-person due to the circumstances – will always be watchful about the ‘Tipping Point’ in the situation – this could happen because of some technological aspects or natural elements or some help reaching their way or just by unexplained factors!
In psychological field of the ‘catastrophe-theory’ this term is significant, it has also been seen in great wars such as the one at Waterloo or many other instances .‘The tipping Point’ makes a huge change in the emergencies on ships too ! Sadly in some of the large scale accidents at sea on ships and also in the offshore industry (e.g. Titanic, Exxon Valdez, Costa, Deep water, Piper Alpha and so on ) the changes in the situation around these ‘Tipping Points’ were almost always drastic … Stories of successful normally don’t make headlines and in those cases to the ‘Tipping Point’ is when the emergency response teams on ships could make a sharp change in the situation after the initial distress !
A team that has excellent leaders, that is excellent in giving accurate feedback & information and that accounts for these feedbacks and adjusts the response actions does not miss this Tipping Point. They use it to advantage to save lives and properties and the environment at sea in emergencies!!