January 2019 is the deadline for lifeboat on-load release mechanisms to be upgraded, the lifeboat manufacturer Norsafe has reminded Tanker Shipping & Trade readers
In an exclusive review of priorities that should be addressed by tanker operators, the company drew attention to discussions at IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee that go back a decade. The discussions, following a spate of lifeboat accidents, led to upgrades being ordered on hooks. The deadline for ships to comply is the first five-year classing survey before January 2019.
But on-load release mechanisms were not the only cause of these accidents: other equipment failures, a lack of regular maintenance, and crew competency were also highlighted.
To address problems with on-load release mechanisms, Solas regulation III and the Lifesaving Appliance (LSA) Code were amended, while regulations III/3 and III/20 were amended to introduce mandatory requirements for maintaining, examining, testing, overhauling and repairing lifeboats, launching appliances and release gear. These changes are not expected to enter into force until 1 January 2020.
Despite these problems, “maintenance of LSA has been low on the priority list for many shipowners and operators” because of the tough economic climate, Norsafe’s review found. Following a detailed study of shipowners’ and operators’ maintenance requirements, it offers a three-tier programme, which it calls its Care Plan, structured to meet three servicing and maintenance options to suit varying budgets.
The basic level includes flexible on-demand servicing and maintenance checks in over 300 ports worldwide. Care Plus is a premium package that includes setting key performance indicators and deciding (based on condition monitoring) when replacement parts will be needed.
In addition, Care Plus customers receive training at Norsafe’s own academies and OEM on-site training, to improve crew competence. This, Norsafe believes, “is a key factor in reducing maintenance costs and the safe operation of the equipment.” Since it launched the scheme in October 2015, Norsafe has signed up more than 500 vessels and rigs.
The training includes a ‘train the trainer’ programme aimed at instructors and trainers working in nautical schools and training centres. This course is run from Norsafe’s training academy in Norway, and covers operational and maintenance training on lifeboat and rescue boat systems, including davits, winches and hooks. An additional programme is being developed for class society inspectors, and will be available later this year.
Norsafe also has an academy in Greece, which it opened two years ago. It has attracted students from a number of Greek tanker operators for it freefall lifeboat basic operation and maintenance course. Norsafe reported that it is the only manufacturer able to offer STCW-approved training courses.