Captain Richard Madden

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Captain Richard Madden is an actively sailing mariner with over 20 years of industry experience. He is focused on safe and secure operations throughout the maritime industry.

file photo courtesy of Alan Jamieson

Captain’s Rounds

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-11-03 19:19:20

Browsing P&I Clubs' websites can be quite enlightening. As they bear the financial costs when mariners get injured or the ship is damaged, they can have insightful guidance. This month, one of the topics discussed by the London P&I Club brings us back to the basics - routine inspections of the vessel by the captain. Captain’s rounds  The Club’s Ship Inspection Programme is aimed at the assessment of third party liability risks on entered ships on both the mutual and...

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Enclosed space entry

Quicker and Easier Than Falling Asleep?

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-09-22 20:58:55

Harry Potter asks his godfather’s spirit, “Does it hurt?” after he’d passed away.  The answer Sirius Black gave was, “Dying?  Not at all. Quicker and easier than falling asleep.” That answer may be familiar to enclosed space victims.   The air we breathe consists of several major components. Oxygen, critical for human life makes up about 20.9 percent of that air. That majority of air is made up of nitrogen – close to 78 percent. The remaining one percent largely...

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window

Introducing the 3-Dimensional Flat Screen Reality Display

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-05-12 22:03:48

This amazing device will assist your bridge crew in the following areas: •  Piloting of the vessel •  Navigation •  Collision avoidance •  Watchkeeping •  Weather observations Amazingly, the 3-Dimensional Flat Screen Reality Display (3D FSRD) can do all this with no external sources of power, no additional computing power, and it permits input from a wide variety of sensors!  No retrofit is required for the majority of vessels, and additional units are already staged worldwide....

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berthing

Vessel Interaction: Have You Considered the Possibilities?

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-04-28 20:26:57

One radio call you do not want to hear from the gangway watch during cargo operations is, "The ship is moving!" Unfortunately, this is exactly what was heard during a recent port call. Shortly after berthing and starting cargo operations on a container vessel with multiple gantry cranes, the vessel started to move ahead. The first warning was by an alert seaman at the gangway. When vessels move through restricted waterways, whether it be depth of water under keel, width...

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Costa Concordia

Near Miss Reporting Lacking in the U.S.

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-04-21 19:20:07

Let’s talk about near miss reporting. If there is a subject sure to get eyes rolling and profanities muttered under people’s breath in the maritime industry, it’s the topic of near misses and their reporting.   Near misses, near miss reporting systems and accident investigations are of great interest to me and, in my humble opinion, should be of great interest to mariners as a group. As the readers start rolling their eyes and muttering under their breath, the prevailing thought...

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Credit: Captain Richard Madden

Fatigue: Can You Just Get Used to it?

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-04-14 20:08:44

Fatigue. It's a way of life for so many of us. From first responders to students to the transportation industry, it's a badge of honor to pull the all-nighter or push through an extended period with no rest. The military is another community for which fatigue is no stranger. U.S. Naval Special Warfare (NSWF) pushes their troops to the limit during initial training (Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal Training (BUD/S)) under very controlled circumstances, including stressors such as hypothermia and sleep deprivation....

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bridge

ECDIS: What Happens When the GPS Signal Goes Away?

By Captain Richard Madden 2018-03-26 17:26:58

The U.S. Maritime Administration issued U.S. Maritime Alert 2018-004 A “Possible GPS Interference – Eastern Mediterranean Sea” on March 23 in in response to reports of GPS disruptions and interference from multiple vessels and aircraft between Cyprus and Port Said, Egypt. These reports come on the heels of multiple warnings by the same agency in 2017 of GPS disruptions in the Black Sea, primarily off the coast of Novorossiysk, Russia. These same warnings reaffirmed that GPS disruptions are a global...

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fire

Engine Room Fires: Who's Next?

By Captain Richard Madden 2017-02-12 01:40:17

It's often said that bad things happen in groups of three. And seafarers are nothing if not superstitious.   There have been two disabling engine room fires in the past month. The first was MV Alliance St. Louis, a RO-RO in the Gulf of Mexico and the most recent was MV Thorco Crown, a multi-purpose vessel, off Newfoundland. Both incidents resulted in the vessels being disabled, requiring commercial towing assistance to reach port. It is time, yet again, to review...

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My Year in MET: A Mariner's Perspective

By Captain Richard Madden 2017-01-01 19:06:58

No, not weather, that’s meteo…but, Maritime Education and Training (MET).  Through an unusual set of circumstances and job changes, I found myself attending over four months of training and classes in the past year at facilities up and down the East coast of the United States.  As an actively sailing mariner, required training – whether mandated by regulation or company – is far from unusual. This quantity in a year was, but did allow a unique insight into the variety...

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engine room fire

Engine Room Fires Are Never Merry

By Captain Richard Madden 2016-12-06 16:30:33

Engine room fires account for up to 50 percent of all fires on vessels with 70 percent of those engine room fires being caused by leaks from pressurized systems. Just this week, the chemical tanker Jo Kiri was inbound for a terminal in the Houston area when smoke was reported in the engine room. The Houston ship channel was blocked for about an hour before the vessel was moved to a berth.  That engine room fires are so prevalent should...

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