A Contingency Event
A contingency event can be a major accident, a terrorist attack, a crowd control scenario, or a natural disaster having a significant effect on the country's infrastructure or the flora and/or fauna environment of larger areas. A contingency event is characterized by the fact that the extent of the task implies that it cannot be handled immediately by a local, routine operating organization. Both rapid and significant effort is required.
You can read more about emergency contingency models in FLEX-FEB's White Paper,
which can be downloaded by clicking here (currently in Danish only).
A Good Emergency Response
Having worked extensively with emergency contingency models, FLEX-FEB has defined a good emergency response as:
"An effective set of measures with a short response time".
Effective implies that the equipment must be suitable for the task, and that crew/operating personnel are able to operate the equipment professionally.
Thus, a good emergency response will consist of three elements:
• The right equipment for the task
• Crew/operating personnel trained to operate the equipment
• Short response time
Like the "Fire Triangle", all three elements must be present for an emergency response plan to work:
Depending on the nature of the task, suitable equipment can be relatively low-tech or high- tech. The crucial point is that the staff/crew operating the equipment has the necessary training and is well practiced.
SHORT RESPONSE TIME
THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Two Contingency Models
When working with contingency models, it is beneficial to divide contingency tasks into two groups - Special Contingency and Functional Contingency.
Special contingencies are characterized by:
• Specialized and often complex equipment that is an integral part of the deploying unit.
• Professional and well-trained operating staff.
• Centrally organized in a few centers.
• Relatively expensive - procurement as well as operation.
• Response time depending on geography (often long).
Functional contingency is characterized by
• Simple equipment (functional equipment) that is not an integral part of the deploying unit.
• Limited training needs.
• Decentralized organizations in many locations.
• Relatively cheap - procurement as well as operation.
• Response time independent of geography (often short).
The table opposite shows how different emergency contingency tasks can be handled with a special emergency response and a functional emergency response, respectively.
You can read more about the functional maritime environmental contingency in FLEX-FEB's White Paper, which can be downloaded by clicking here (currently in Danish only).
A Functional Marine Environment Contingency
A functional marine environmental emergency requires functional marine environment protection equipment - and not specialized equipment, which is often expensive and only available to a limited extent. A functional marine environment emergency response is characterized by the fact that the functional equipment is (relatively) cheap and so intuitively and easy to operate that it only requires a brief instruction. At the same time, the functional equipment is not an integral part of the deploying unit and the equipment is locally available, which shortens the response time.
The marine environmental protection equipment must be deployable from the beach, or at sea as an independent capacity; independent of a mother vessel, and the equipment must be so simple to operate that it can be deployed without the crew being specially trained.
Flexible Filtering Environmental Barges
Flexible filtering environmental protection barges have already been mentioned several times. These barges are - in one single operation - capable of collecting oil-mixed water from the sea, filtering the oil from the water, directing the purified water back into the sea, and storing the oil until pumped into a tank (on shore or onboard a vessel) and recycled.
The distinctive feature of the barges is a constant draft regardless of the load condition. Thus, the cargo capacity is utilized 100%, whereas a conventional environment protection vessel with storage tanks is typically utilized less than 20%. This also implies that flexible filtering environment barges with a relatively significant load capacity can be deployed in the shallow water zone close to the beach.
The flexible filtering environment barges can be decentral placed in ports in coastal municipalities. This has several benefits. Firstly, the response time will be very short for the first units. Secondly, the environment barges can be used on a daily basis for collecting e.g. seaweed/eelgrass or other waste floating on the water along the coasts. And thirdly, the barges will be available to the voluntary organizations that will deploy them in the event of an oil spill. It ensures a routine and familiarity with the equipment, which will be invaluable when deployed in a live scenario.
Therefore, Flexible Filtering Environmental Protection Barges is the best solution for a functional marine environmental contingency. Flexible Filtering Environment Barges did not come off-the- shelf, but FLEX-FEB commenced development and construction of the first fully functional flexible filtering environmental barges, FEB-I, in 2020 and the barge was compleded and ready for sea trials by mid-2022.
The sea trials during 2022 successfully confirmed the FEB-I ability to collect oil mixed water from the surface in shallow waters.
You can read more in FLEX-FEB's White Paper on functional marine environment contingency, which can be downloaded by clicking here (currently in Danish only).