City of Glasgow College

Saving seafarers’ lives by tackling oxygen depletion in enclosed spaces

Life-saving research into oxygen depletion in enclosed spaces on-board ships, with the findings being shared through the development of accredited materials available to students globally in partnership with the Merchant Navy Training Board and the Maritime Education Foundation.

Almost 22,000 UK seafarers work for UK and International organisations, shipping companies and cruise liners. And every day they face an invisible danger – oxygen depletion in enclosed spaces on-board ships.

It is a problem the industry had considered to be addressed. And yet, some sixty years after the first guidance was written by the International Maritime Organisation it continues to claim the lives of unwary seafarers. Building on its extensive maritime history, City of Glasgow College set out to understand why lives were still being lost. They discovered there was an absence of empirical research and that the position remained extant despite the potential for a profound impact on global maritime safety.

Working with industry and a research team, the College proved that oxygen depletion takes place at a far faster rate than previously thought. Moreover, even minor changes in temperature, pressure, and the condition of the cargo could have dangerous impact on the speed at which oxygen depleted.

Together with the Maritime Education Foundation (MEF) and Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) the College made its findings freely available on Udemy, and each year shares its research findings with the UK’s largest cohort of maritime cadets, ensuring that future seafarers are more aware and better prepared than ever to tackle this hidden and deadly danger.