PREVENTION OF ACCIDENTS INVOLVING LIFEBOATS

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Amendments to SOLAS – enforced 1st July 2008

The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), at its 82nd session held from 29 November to 8 December 2006, adopted an amendment to SOLAS regulation III/19.3.3.4 concerning provisions for the launch of free-fall lifeboats during abandon-ship drills. The amendment will authorize, during the abandon ship drill, for the lifeboat to either be free fall launched with only the operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by secondary means of launching without the operating crew on board, and then manoeuvred in the water by the operating crew. The motive is to decrease accidents with lifeboats occurring during the abandon ship drills. The amendment is expected to enforced on 1 July 2008.

Amendments to SOLAS – enforced on 1 July 2006

On 1st July 2006, amendments (accepted in May 2004) to SOLAS chapter III – Life-saving appliances & arrangements enforced. They are considered to help avert accidents with lifeboats during the drills. They stemmed from work by the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) intended to address the unacceptably high number of accidents with lifeboats in which crew have been injured, occasionally fatally, while taking part in lifeboat drills and/or inspections.

The amendments to SOLAS regulations III/19 – Emergency training & drills & III/20 working readiness, maintenance & inspections regarding the state in which the lifeboat emergency training & drills must be conducted & introduce changes to the working requirements for the maintenance, weekly & monthly inspections so as not to require any persons to be on board, & servicing of launching appliances & on load release gear.

Further amendments

MSC 81 in the year May 2006 accepted for the subsequent approval a suggested draft amendment to SOLAS regulation III/19.3.3.4 regarding provisions for the launch of free fall lifeboats during the abandon ship drills. This modification will allow, during the abandon ship drill, for the lifeboat to either be free-fall launched with only the operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by the secondary means of launching without the operating crew on board, and then manoeuvred in to the water by the operating crew. The motive is to avert accidents with lifeboats happens during abandon ship drills.

For now, the MSC allow a MSC circular on the early execution of draft SOLAS regulation III/19.3.3.4; an MSC circular on the recommendations for the developing operation &  maintenance manuals for lifeboat systems & an MSCcircular 1206 on Measures to prevent accidents with lifeboats consolidating previous circulars MSC/Circ.1049, MSC/Circ.1093, MSC/Circ.1136 and MSC/Circ.1137. The combined circular includes the recommendations for the periodic servicing & maintenance of the lifeboats, launching appliances & on-load release gear; Instructions on safety during abandon ship drills using the lifeboats; and recommendations for simulated launching of the free fall lifeboats.