In its recent version of Safety Flashes, IMCA analyze a case where there was a structural failure of an air cylinder fitted in a lifeboat.
In fact, the failure occurred without warning. As explained, no work had or was being conducted on or around the air cylinder. Three crew members working nearby were injured by the blast debris.
In light of the above, first aid treatment was provided onboard by the medic and they were then sent onshore that night for assessment by a local hospital, and later released.
For the record, this event, which occurred in July 2020, was first brought to IMCA’s attention last year, while a complete investigation into this incident is currently ongoing.
At the moment, the above preliminary suspected causes of the cylinder failure have been identified:
- Galvanic corrosion between the cylinder material and the metal support frame leading to a weakness in the cylinder wall.
- Cylinders submerged in bilge water for extended period leading to wall corrosion which could have then affected the integrity.
- Inspected annually for corrosion or wall damage by service providers.
- Hydrostatic [pressure] tested at a required interval of five years.