The value of cruise scientific objectives must be balanced against potential hazards to enable the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) to achieve these objectives while maintaining high standards of safety and pollution prevention. With diligent planning and careful operational procedures, it is possible to achieve desired goals and minimize risks.
Adherence to the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" offers the surest route to safety and prevention of pollution. Money and time spent on extra care in preliminary site surveys, choosing site locations, and planning drilling operations minimizes risks of an accident that could cause loss of life or property, damage to the environment, or handicap or even termination of this major international scientific endeavor.
The diverse sites planned for ODP drilling require emphasis on pollution prevention and safety during both site evaluations and cruise operations. This is especially the case given the continued interest in deeper sediment penetrations, natural flow features, hydrates, high-temperature features, and shallower-water sites on continental margins.
The document provides a practical and flexible framework on which leg- and site-specific procedures can be based by mutual agreement of the science operator (ODP at Texas A&M University [TAMU]) and Transocean, scientific community, and shipboard supervisors. It is not possible to foresee and cover all the contingencies, combinations of reactions, or ultimate effects that may occur in a given situation; therefore, a team effort is crucial to determine the best course of action and coordinate operations.
The following references contain additional information concerning safety practices and assessment: