CTI Marine has world recognised experts in the field of water safety management with extensive knowledge and experience in marine and offshore water safety. The team has been involved in the investigation of international, high-profile Legionella outbreaks at sea and on land, as well as other outbreaks associated with contaminated water and food.
The priority of water safety management in the marine and offshore industry has been heightened in recent times due to updated guidance and pending legislation. Increased public awareness, together with several high profile water-related issues within the industry, has also led to the raising profile of water safety management.
The marine and offshore industry is particularly susceptible to myriad water safety issues. Indeed, it has been exposed to some high profile cases of Legionnaires’ Disease and other waterborne illnesses in recent years, on board larger passenger vessels, smaller cargo ships and oil platforms. There is also an increased awareness of the issues related to Legionella, Pseudomonas, Cryptosporidium etc., This, together with the realisation that non-reporting and/or incorrect diagnosis has undoubtedly led to the reduction of ‘cases’, has led to a much greater public and regulatory focus. The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates the implementation of Water Safety Plans (WSPs). In the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality – 4th Edition, 2011 it states: “The most effective means of consistently ensuring the safety of drinking water supply is through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that encompasses all steps in water supply from catchment to consumer. In these Guidelines, such approaches are called water safety plans (WSPs)”.
WSPs are a holistic risk-management approach to potable and recreational water safety management. The WHO Guidelines explicitly state the importance of WSPs in the effective management of water safety. The International Water Association (IWA, Bonn Charter 2004) also advocates the use of WSPs as the best way of ensuring good, safe drinking-water.
With specific regard to the marine industry, the WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation, 2011 advises that WSPs are an effective means to ensure the safety of a drinking-water supply.
European-wide marine hygiene standards are currently in the process of being developed through the EU-funded SHIPSAN Joint Action. This project has been in development for several years but is now in the final phase of a Joint Action supported by all Member States. The guidance is likely to become legislative in the fullness of time.
An outcome of the project is The European Manual for Hygiene Standards and Communicable Diseases Surveillance on Passenger Ships, 2011 which includes comprehensive requirements for the management of potable and recreational water. The Manual includes specific requirements that, in line with the WHO and International Water Association (IWA) guidance, the systems and controls for the provision of safe water on passenger ships should be included within an overall Water Safety Plan (WSP). This plan is to be based upon a systematic risk assessment-based approach to water safety management, similar to that used in HACCP systems in food operations.
Many Port Health authorities, including Australia, Brazil, USA, China and those within Europe, are likely to adopt the WSP risk-based approach to water safety. This holistic approach to water safety management is now recognised globally as best practice and the most effective means to manage water safety risks. This risk is assessed and managed from point of source, which is either produced water on board or bunkered water, to the point of consumption.
In other specific marine guidance, the UK Marine & Coastguard Agency (MCA) Merchant Shipping Notice 1845 (MSN 1845(M)) states that “…the most effective means of ensuring the safety of the fresh water supply is through the use of a risk assessment and management approach that covers the whole process from loading to delivery at the tap and includes a planned maintenance system. All of the information gathered should be used to develop a Fresh Water Safety Plan (FWSP), particularly for ships with a complex system, which could be incorporated into the ship’s planned maintenance system.”
The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Maritime and Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006), was finally ratified and came into force in August 2013. It is known as the fourth pillar of international maritime law – the others being SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL.
MLC 2006 contains five Titles that cover the required international standards. Title 3, concerned with Food and Catering: Provision of Food and Fresh Water, requires the supply of drinking water and fresh water to be such as to prevent any risk of contamination. Regulation 3.2 states that its purpose is “To ensure that seafarers have access to good quality food and drinking water provided under regulated hygienic conditions.”
Further in this Regulation, in paragraph 7, it states that “…the competent authority shall require that frequent documented inspections be carried out on board ships, by or under the authority of the master, with respect to…supplies of : food and drinking water.”
The implementation of WSPs within the marine and offshore industry would not only help significantly to minimise water safety risks within their operation it would also demonstrate corporate due diligence. The safety of crew and passengers is paramount of course but such steps would also help mitigate possible negative media exposure and litigation.
CTI Marine, believe the marine and offshore industry would significantly benefit if WSPs were audited to an internationally recognised standard by an accredited independent company.
As an ISO 17020 /17025 accredited company, CTI Marine would issue such a Certificate of Compliance to verify that the water safety management system had been developed using a systematic and comprehensive risk-assessment methodology. The operator would then incorporate this into their SMS/SQM and it would become part of the company’s due diligence and policy procedures. This process would also assist on board management to carry out their responsibilities whilst, at the same time, providing a suitable catalyst to positively engage them in support of the company’s strategic development of water safety management.
In addition to audit services, CTI Marine can work with the operator to develop and implement the WSPs and documentation. They are also able to provide independent consultancy services and provide training by accredited e-/mobile learning and/or conventional trainer-led classroom courses on all aspects of water safety management at all operational or management levels.