DVIDS – News – Damage control: there is no “911” at sea


Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Military Sealift Command Training Center Hampton Roads, located on Joint Base Langley-Fort Eustis. MSC Training Centers are responsible for providing both the basic training required for new MSC Civil Service Seafarers (CIVMARs) as well as advanced and requalification training for CIVMARs, Contract Seamen and Marines. Navy reservists already serving in the MSC fleet.

This article is the second in a series focusing on training opportunities offered at MSC training centers.

While at the training facility, I had the opportunity to visit the MSC Damage Control Trainer, where new and veteran Civil Service Seamen (CIVMAR) receive hands-on damage control training.

Damage control onboard MSC ships involves the ability of a crew to manage threats and emergencies at sea that could sink a ship or render it inoperable; such as fire, flood or structural failure. All new hires and veteran CIVMARs must be damage control qualified to sail on any of MSC’s vessels.

It is essential that SMC CIVMARs be proficient in damage control, as a ship at sea relies on its crew to deal with emergencies when they arise.

“To put it simply…there is no ‘911’ at sea,” said Michael McVaney, firefighting team leader at MSC Hampton Roads Training Center. “So for emergencies on ships, the crew can’t just make a phone call, find a safe place to hide and wait to be rescued. Instead, sailors are called, at any time, to assume the role of emergency first responders.

“Along the way, the solution to most onboard emergencies has to come from within,” he added. “So every ship needs appropriate damage control equipment and competent and trained personnel to respond to any emergency.”

MSC Hampton Roads Training Center and MSC West Training Center, San Diego, provide classroom training and hands-on damage control training for community CIVMARs.

“MSC damage control training addresses a range of issues such as flooding and structural damage from a variety of courses including collision, battle damage and pipe ruptures,” McVaney said. . “Students practice shoring, patching and patching to slow water and shoring to strengthen weakened structures inside a vessel.”

“There’s also a ‘dryout’ part of damage control training,” he added. “We train students in the use of equipment and systems used to evacuate flood water from the vessel.”

Students also learn how to operate the different types of equipment used to fight shipboard fires, remove smoke and toxic fumes, and perform temporary structural repairs.

“Although the term damage control” can relate to a variety of issues, such as fire, flood, chemical, biological and radiological damage, our damage control trainer and the class we offer focus primarily on responding to physical damage to a ship,” McVaney said. “From the start, we impress upon students that our immediate objective (in an emergency at sea) is control…not repair.”

“We’re not looking to make things ‘like new’, but rather ‘good enough to survive’, so the ship can continue on its journey or its mission,” he added. “At the very least, effective damage control efforts will buy the ship and her crew time to continue resolving the problem.”

The MSC Damage Control Trainer provides realistic simulated emergencies in controlled environments designed to resemble the real spaces encountered by CIVMARs aboard MSC ships. Some of the situations simulated at the training center include extinguishing a waste bin fire, extinguishing a fire in a cabin, and handling an engine room fire.

“The highlight of the damage control class is the damage control tank or ‘wet trainer,'” according to McVaney. “It simulates the interior compartments of a ship with different types of physical damage and water intrusion. There are hatches that cannot be closed, cracks and holes in the bulkheads and even leaky pipes.

CIVMARs currently sailing in the MSC fleet must requalify in damage control every five years.

“The kind of hands-on training we provide helps reinforce classroom presentations, so come here prepared to get involved in the process,” McVaney advised. “Oh yeah…bring a towel and a change of clothes because you’re going to get wet.”

McVaney concluded by suggesting that CIVMARs interested in exploring SMC damage control training opportunities should contact their maritime placement and training specialists.

Current MSC CIVMAR members interested in training and requalification opportunities should also consult with their vessel’s Chief Engineer and access the following sites for more information:

-CIVMAR – Training (sealiftcommand.com) (CIVMAR.SealiftCommand Training Site)
– https://navy.deps.mil/sites/msc/QMS/SMS/SMS/EX_DOCS/MSC Training and Readiness.htm (Full Portal T&R Manual)

For those interested in becoming a CIVMAR and joining the MSC fleet, please view our current opportunities at https://sealiftcommand.com. Or you can call 1-877-JOBS-MSC (562-7672), 1-757-341-4611 or email [email protected]

Date taken: 26.05.2022
Date posted: 26.05.2022 09:58
Story ID: 421580
Location: FORT EUSTIS, Virginia, USA

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