Dispersants are a recognized method of combating oil spills at sea. Swing and hanging spray booms of varying solutions, length and quality has previously been attempted fitted onto the vessel to the supply and variety of emergency vessels. Studies / research done particularly by SINTEF Materials and Chemistry in Trondheim, have shown that these simple dispersant systems have rather limited effectiveness. Jason Engineering has developed, with chemistry expert advice from SINTEF, a system with a hydraulic operated support beam and associated twin manifold with spray nozzles.
A number of newer standby vessels that are under development, especially for the Arctic, including an enclosed bow section (for example, type Ulstein X-Bow and others). This means that it is not possible to install and operate dispersant equipment on the foredeck of the vessel in such a way that dispersant can be applied in an optimal way. There are constantly new and stricter requirements for both safety and handling oil leak, which means that newer vessels are increasingly being required to equip the vessel with dispersing equipment, as well as safety requirements must be met. In addition, many of the new types of vessels with enclosed bow section often specially adapted to Arctic conditions, which further increases the need and requirements of thoughtful and reliable systems. In addition to that there is a clear trend that vessels adapted to Arctic conditions include more automated equipment to protect the crew against weather, wind and the increased risk found during work on open deck under Arctic conditions. One challenge associated with vessels with enclosed bow section is that the available interior space is also limited. This applies to the extent that the traditional hull types. Since the exterior hull of the vessel render impossible to fit traditional spray booms and interior space is already limited, it becomes difficult to find space for additional equipment, especially equipment that must work upstream of the bow wave. A further challenge is that the requirements stipulate that the oil leak handling equipment to be mobilized and be ready for action within 30 minutes.
Under arctic condition, icing can be a problem. Icing affect the equipment’s function and may in some cases putting the equipment out of action, or destroy it. In addition, icing it is harder and more dangerous for the crew to handle. Deicing equipment in form of trace heating is therefore included for systems where the vessel shall operate in Arctic areas.
With application of dispersants on oil slicks, it is desirable not to use more or less dispersant than is necessary. Dispersants should be a source of pollution in itself, and is also referred to the limited volume of dispersant onboard a vessel. It is important to use dispersants in a sensible manner. If oil leaks handling equipment is improperly located or designed, there is a risk that large volumes of dispersants is wasted without doing what it should do. Improper use can result in unnecessarily large amounts of dispersants used without effect. According to the present challenges above, Jason Engineering has solved these by means of a twin type nozzle manifold with different nozzle flow rate and variable dispersant pump pressure/flow control. Also the nozzle manifold can be positioned relative to the sea surface.
The system is remotely controlled by mean of an electric/hydraulic control system and operated from a wireless control unit.