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Lifeboat safety – recent development, Mar 2019

Update: Mar 2019

A  meeting of the Industry Lifeboat Group (ILG) is scheduled on 2 Apr 2019. The ILG meeting can be seen as a follow up to the IMO SSE 6 in Mar and the preparation for the coming MSC 101 in Jun 2019.

  1. Issues on lifeboat at SSE 6

SSE 6 finalised:

  • the list of functional requirements and expected performance criteria, particularly with regard to supporting the LSA Code;
  • the draft amendments to the Guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II-1 and III (MSC.1/Circ.1212) and the associated MSC Circular for submission to MSC 101 for approval, and
  • the draft Interim guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in Polar waters, to assist ship designers and shipowners to implement the Polar Card. It will go to MSC 101 for approval and to be issued as a MSC circular.

On the issue of survival craft ventilation, there was insufficient time at SSE 6 to develop new requirements for ventilation of survival craft for partially enclosed lifeboats and liferafts. It was therefore agreed to establish a Correspondence Group (CG) to work on this item intersessionally and report to SSE 7 in 2020. The CG would also consider the draft amendments to resolution MSC.81(70) for the testing of the means of ventilation for totally enclosed lifeboats.

About the amendments to para 4.4.7.6.17 of the LSA Code concerning single fall and hook systems with on-load release capability, SSE 6 decided to re-consider this time at SSE 7.

  1. Joint industry proposal

Industry partners including INTERCARGO jointly proposes a new work program to “Develop design and prototype test requirements for the arrangements used in the operational testing of free-fall lifeboat release systems without launching the lifeboat”(equipment used in the simulated launching of free-fall lifeboats).

It was submitted to MSC 101 as attached MSC 101-21-10 for reference. Pre-submission consultation refers to INTERCARGO circular 0208-F-1963 – Proposal to amend LSA Code with new requirements on prototype test of lifeboat release systems, dated 8 Feb.

It is the industry’s view that, while MSC.1/Circ.1578 now appropriately addresses the risks associated with conducting drills on free-fall lifeboats, there is a demonstrable need to develop design and prototype test requirements for the arrangements used in the operational testing of free-fall lifeboat release systems without launching the lifeboat (equipment used in the simulated launching of free-fall lifeboats). The conduct of “the operational testing of free-fall lifeboat release systems” (SOLAS regulation III/20.11.2.3) is addressed in paragraph 6.2.7 of resolution MSC.402(96) on Requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear.

It has been noted that the free-fall lifeboat is “be designed to test the release system without launching the lifeboat” (para 4.7.6.4 of the LSA Code) but the provisions of para 4.7.6.4 does not address “the arrangements”. Rather, para 4.7.6.4 currently only specifies a functional requirement that a free-fall lifeboat’s release system can be tested without launching the lifeboat. Therefore there is a need to amend paragraph 4.7.6.4 to include requirements for the design of “the arrangements” taking into account the lifeboat’s static weight as well as the shock loading that would be experienced in the operational testing of the free-fall lifeboat release system without launching the lifeboat (a simulated launch). Prototype test requirements for “the arrangements”, if developed, would form the basis for the amendments of resolution MSC.81(70).

  1. Items to be discussed at the ILG meeting

There would be general discussion/update on the outcome of SSE 6 on lifeboat and the joint industry submission to MSC 101 at the ILG meeting on 2 Apr. Additionally, the following issues are expected to be raised and discussed/updated:

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