SOLAS Amendments for lifeboats

With Resolution MSC.402(96), IMO issued amendments for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats /rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear, which came into force in January 2020.

The provisions aim to prevent accidents with survival craft and to address longstanding issues such as the need for uniform, safe and documented standards related to the servicing of these appliances. The core of above amendments is the requirement for thorough examination, operational testing, repair and overhaul of equipment conducted by authorized and certified personnel.

The summary below is extracted by the Resolution.

Equipment covered by the new requirements include:

  • lifeboats (including free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats and fast rescue boats; and
  • launching appliances and on-load and off-load release gear for lifeboats (including primary and secondary means of launching appliances for free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats, fast rescue boats and davit-launched life rafts.

Weekly and monthly inspections and routine maintenance of such equipment must be carried out by authorized service providers, or by shipboard personnel under the direction of a senior ship’s officer in accordance with the maintenance manual(s).

Annual thorough examinations and operational tests must be carried out by certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider. The service provider may be the ship operator, provided they are authorized.

Five-year thorough examination, any overhaul, overload operational tests and repairs of such equipment, must be carried out by certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider.

Authorized service providers are entities authorized by the flag administration in accordance with Sections 3 and 7 of Resolution MSC.402(96). It is important to note that the requirements apply equally to manufacturers when they are acting as authorized service providers.

Certification is issued by authorized service providers to their personnel. Each authorized service provider must certify its personnel for each make and type of equipment to be worked on, as well as for the specific work activities to be carried out, such as annual or five-yearly inspections. Completion of relevant education and training, including a competence assessment using the equipment for which the personnel are to be certified, is a prerequisite for certification.

Additionally, to the above do not forget the requirement of LSA Code for on load release mechanisms, which requires every lifeboat, including lifeboats which are also rescue boats, to be fitted with hooks that have on-load release capability. Exempted are free-fall lifeboats. The requirement is in place and the date of conformance has expired (no later than 01 July 2019). IMO requirements for on load release systems as per IMO Resolution 320(89).

Inspections and Routine Maintenance Table

Interval / Action

Items

(reference to para. of MSC 402(96))

Conducted by:

Weekly Inspections

All items included in SOLAS maintenance manual, as required by Flag Administration (§4.1 and §6.1)

Authorized service provider or shipboard personnel under the direction of a senior ship’s officer in accordance with the maintenance manual

Monthly Inspections

All items included in SOLAS maintenance manual, as required by Flag Administration (§4.1 and §6.1)

Authorized service provider or shipboard personnel under the direction of a senior ship’s officer in accordance with the maintenance manual

Routine Maintenance as specified in the equipment maintenance man

All items included in SOLAS maintenance manual, as required by Flag Administration (§4.1 and §6.1)

Authorized service provider or shipboard personnel under the direction of a senior ship’s officer in accordance with the maintenance manual

Annual thorough examination and operational test

  1. All items listed in checklists for the weekly/monthly inspections required by SOLAS regulations III/20.6 and III/20.7

  2. Lifeboats (incl. FFB), rescue boats, fast rescue boats

  3. Release gear of lifeboats (including free-fall lifeboats), rescue boats, fast rescue boats and liferafts

  4. Davit-launched lifeboats’ and rescue boats’ on-load release function

  5. Davit-launched lifeboats’ and rescue boats’ off-load release function

  6. Free-fall lifeboat release function

  7. Davit launch life raft automatic release function

  8. Launching Appliances condition (corrosion, limit switches etc)

  9. Winches of launching appliances

Certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider

The service provider may be the ship operator, if authorized as per section 3 & 7 of Res. MSC 402(96)

Five-year thorough examination, any overhaul, overload operational tests.

Proof load to be used equal 1.1 times the weight of survival craft or rescue boat and its full complement of persons and equipment

  1. Winches of launching appliances

  2. Above items 4,5,6,7 but with the proof load of 1.1 of weight

  3. Dismantling of hook release units

  4. Examinations with regard to tolerances and design requirements

  5. Adjustment of release gear system after assembly

  6. Vital parts for corrosion or crack

Certified personnel of either the manufacturer or an authorized service provider in attendance of RO Surveyor. (MSC.1/Circ. 1618.)

 

INTLREG Admin

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