Hurricane Season & Marine Safety: All You Should Need to Know!

It’s a fact that hurricanes have been responsible for many maritime disasters and there isn’t a single rule of thumb that can safely separate mariners from the approaching catastrophe. Constant monitoring of the hurricane, its potential and risk analysis alongside basic safety guidelines can minimise damage and valuable loss of life but, even that’s not certain, depending on the intensity of the storm.

With time, we’ve come a long way to understand hurricanes but nature play by its own rules, further backed by global climate change which intensifies a storm system in less than 24-hours, rendering essential safety measures useless. For shipping businesses, port operators and those already moving across the water, news of an ocean-based storm system isn’t less than a nightmare.

And now that hurricane season has officially begun, better know all about safety especially if yours is a shipping business.

Learn from Historical Events

Some of the regions have a climate which favours development, intensification and movement of the hurricanes. Learning about them, the history and impacts so far can definitely benefit vessels in the sea and port to assess the risk, take appropriate safety measures accordingly. The same information help mariners avoid peak storm systems while shipping and complete their freight forwarding taking a safer path.

Warm Water & Ocean Current

Intensification of hurricanes is supported by particular areas in the basin and warm water contributes to powering up a hurricane. To know about all these spots help mariners exercise safety whereas the details also conclude that high sea-surface temperature which is above 70-degree Fahrenheit or 26-degree Celsius are prime locations which mariners and cargo ships should avoid mostly throughout the hurricane season or lease during live storm event.

Tropical storm or hurricane force winds that blow in opposite direction to the ocean current can rapidly create steep and short waves which makes navigation through such points extremely difficult and dangerous.

Basic Guidelines for Mariners & Port Operators

To limit the potential encounter and damage, it’s crucial learning from the previous mistakes and errors in forecasting. A few basic guidelines are listed below:

  • 34 KT Rule

Avoiding wind field of 34 KT is crucial for sea vessels as the value is considered critical because wind speed tend to increase at this point. It also decreases the ship’s manoeuvrability thus raising danger level for all on board including the consignment.

  • 1-2-3 Rule

The minimum recommended safe distance to maintain from a hurricane is defined by the 1-2-3 Rule. Large buffer zones must be established in the event of greater uncertainty to correctly forecast hurricanes as this can reduce direct exposure of the human personnel, ship and precious cargo to the storm. However this rule is inapplicable if the winds exceed 34 KT or tropical expansion of the wind field.

  • Against the Hurricane Track Analysis

When both ships and hurricanes are in dynamic state, comparing the movement of both is crucial for safety. Continuous monitoring of the latest forecasts aligned with current or planned evasions can improve safety and give mariners confidence to ship.

  • Don’t Cross the “T”

No matter how tempted, don’t ever cross the “T” track of the hurricane as this is where motion of the storm is at its peak and most uncertain putting the ship and personnel at unnecessary greater risk. Course adjustments and maintaining speed are two ways to clear away from the most dangerous areas or spots in a storm system.

  • The Recent Track Tendency

Comparing the most recent NHC forecast for the last 24-hours is useful to determine motion of the storm and safety essentials. Take for instance forecast that update every 6-hour in the event of a hurricane, showing a noticeable shift either to the right or left can surely help. The details can help you navigate safely while avoiding the hurricane force winds.

Whether freight forwarding through the Dubai free zone or any other, the details above can help take safety measures!

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