Lessons learnt from a marine safety investigation conducted by RMI
A marine safety investigation conducted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator of an inoperative lifeboat engine, which also resulted in a Code 17 Port State Control deficiency, identified the following lessons learned:
- The lifeboat engine's lubricating oil viscosity broke down at temperatures below -35˚ C, resulting in the engine becoming seized when it was operationally tested during a Port State Control inspection.
- Before starting the lifeboat engine a ship's engineer sampled the lube oil, but did not ascertain its loss of viscosity.
- The lifeboat engine manufacturer's operation and maintenance manual did not explicitly describe cold weather precautions.
- Ship management's Designated Person Ashore reported that their safety management system/life boat engine planned maintenance standards (SMS/PMS) task to have the lifeboat engine's lubricating oil changed-out with a lubricating oil more conducive for cold weather inpreparation for the ship's voyage into a cold weather region was not adhered to by the ship's engineers.
The IMO Life-Saving Appliance Code requires that lifeboat and rescue boat engines start within two (2) minutes at ambient temperatures of -15˚ C. However, it is noted that it cannot be known how cold it might be when it is necessary to start a lifeboat or rescue boat.
Therefore, it is recommended that the SMS/PMS for lifeboat and rescue boat engines are reviewed and, as appropriate, revised based on these lessons learned.