Safety is always of the utmost importance in a ship as well as any sphere of life. But sometimes, unwanted things happen, and surely, we should be prepared for the worst as well as equipped with the best technology. So, a Marine Evacuation system is a life-saving appliance for the rapid transfer of the passengers/crew from the embarkation deck of a ship to the floating survival craft. It is predominantly found in passenger ships. The capacity of the MES can vary from system to system.
How does an MES work?
The mechanism of MES can be explained as:
- First of all, the cover is removed to push the platform and slide, resulting in the inflation. The cause of inflation is due to the nitrogen that is stored in a container.
- As per the size of the respective vessel, the boarding platform also differs from ship to ship. And it is manned by the crew members who will do the operation of evacuation.
- In the case of extreme emergency, the devices can be activated by pulling a hand-grip.
- After the deployment of the MES, the passengers slide down to the landing platform.
Every liferaft will convey an assigned number of people and is contained in a climate tight holder. These rafts are inflated from a boarding- platform at the end of the slide, then linked to the platform by bowsing in lines to facilitate safe-boarding.
Evacuation side launching and Embarkation
Every evacuation slide should conform to the general requirements for the launching appliances, and in addition:
- The evacuation slide shall be capable of being deployed by one person at the embarkation station.
- The evacuation slide shall be capable of being used in high winds and a seaway.
This slide is variable in length and runs onto a landing platform, the platform being an integral part of the slide. “Departure from the parent vessel happens by people sliding down the twofold course down to the arrival stage, and afterward leaving into liferafts”.
What is an MES training chute?
It is a slide or escape chute where a passenger can evacuate straight into the waiting life rafts. The chute acts as a ‘feeder’ for evacuees to descend to the life rafts. Once passengers enter the MEC chute, they descend in a zig-zag pattern and then transfer to the life raft at the surface. Once fully loaded these would maneuver away from the distressed vessel.
What are the 3 stages of evacuation?
The process of evacuating large passenger ships is very complex, as it involves the management of a large number of passengers on a complex moving platform and has little knowledge about ships.
The three stages of evacuation can be described as:
- Assembly to muster stations.
- Transfer to embarkation station
- Embarkation in LSAs/ Launching of LSAs.
- Clearing off vessel
- Waiting for rescue
What are the types of evacuation?
There are many types of evacuation systems, some of them are:
- The Chute system: used in large cruise ships as they take little space, and fast evacuation is done.
- Mini-chute systems: used by smaller vessels (those that have a lower embarkation deck).
- Slide systems: an inflatable slide that attaches to the access point.
- Mini-slide systems: used by yachts or vessels having low embarkation point.
- Direct boarding life-rafts: they float parallel to the vessel and useful for mass evacuations.
According to the SOLAS-III-21/1.4, maximum time allowed for launching of boats and embarkation is 30 minutes.