What are marine breakaway couplings and why are they important?

Marine Breakaway Couplings – avoid making the headlines for all the wrong reasons

Environmental concerns and health and safety issues are hot topics in today’s world of engineering. Damaging spillages or a poor workforce safety record can make it even harder to compete for business in a straitened market.

In a world where no one wants accidents, Marine breakaway couplings (or MBCs) provide an innovative solution to transporting hazardous and non-hazardous liquids and gases safely.

Expertly engineered to withstand the challenge of extreme environments both on and offshore, the unique selling point of an MBC is that it is designed to decouple when subjected to an atypical tensile stress. When your marine hose transfer system encounters unexpected pressure surges or axial loads, which exceed a pre-set maximum, the MBC activates, automatically shutting and closing off the valves on one or both sides of a pre-determined parting point, allowing your hose system to decouple safely. The flow of gas or liquid is stopped, preventing spillage, leakage and loss.

Not convinced of the benefits over a traditional coupling system?

Industry insiders know that safe decoupling protects the environment, your workforce and your assets. Furthermore, it may enhance the reputation of your business by projecting a responsible company image – and reputation matters, as Shell found out to their cost in the Gulf of Mexico.

Of course, the benefits of avoiding a major offshore oil spill or chemical fire are obvious; environmental clean-ups are expensive and attract the wrong sort of media attention. Spills of hazardous materials also endanger your workforce, affecting your health and safety record, your standing as an employer and your insurance premiums. In an industry where safety is of the utmost importance, it pays to have the best safeguards.

Uncontrolled flow not only damages the environment. Pressure surges and spillages can cause costly system damage and, if your state of the art equipment is adversely affected, then your productivity (and profit) is too. No business can afford unplanned downtime and repair and clean-up costs in a market that is already so fiercely competitive.

Still unconvinced of the benefits? Not enough that using a Marine Breakaway coupling reduces risk and demonstrates that your company is committed to using proven engineering solutions to enhance terminal safety and prevent pollution?

Then listen to the experts.

In November 2008 the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) produced an information paper on the subject of MBCs stating that:

“the value of a device that serves as a part of the risk mitigation strategy and provides protection in such events to critical assets, and also reduces pollution to relatively minor amounts in the event of an incident, is recognised by industry and Marine Breakaway Couplings (MBCs) are now routinely specified for new offshore installations.”

MBCs, designed and engineered to the specific requirements of your company, are the future.

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