Autumn 2019

Ships’ crews tap into new water testing kit

The team from Martek has been working closely with the Manchester Port Health Authority (MPHA) to show ships’ crews how to effectively test water for evidence of potentially harmful bacterium.

Martek first approached MPHA in April to better understand the role of port health authorities in relation to portable water, offering to improve the water testing procedures and educate crews in effective testing.

A number of subsequent vessel inspections identified an alarming number of positive legionella samples including evidence of one (called ‘serotype 1’) which can be fatal if left untreated.

The bacteria thrives in purpose-built water systems such as showers, air conditioning, cleaning and drinking water systems where temperatures remain between 20-50 °C. If these systems are poorly maintained, the bacteria will grow and increase the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

As a consequence, MPHA and Martek teamed up on a tour of two vessels under MPHA’s authority to gain a better understanding of crew procedures and to educate crew on best practice.

The team filmed correct sampling and water outlet flushing procedures, and showed crews the measures they should be taking on a regular basis. Martek has now produced a guide for its service engineers to hand to crews. The team is also producing educational materials which clearly explain how to correctly perform each test in the DrinkSafe kit.

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