Through a new Marine Safety Advisory, the Republic of the Marshall Islands stressed the importance of properly inspecting and maintaining all immersion suits, following recent cases of defective immersion suits found onboard RMI-flagged vessels.
ince 2019, when RMI shared a marine safety advisory focusing on the importance of following the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining immersion suits, there have been multiple additional instances of defective or improperly maintained immersion suits on RMI-flagged vessels, one of which resulted in a PSC detention by the US Coast Guard. In that case, “29 of 32 immersion suits were unserviceable due to unsealed seams,” and these suits were only five years old.
On a second occasion during a flag State inspection, an inspector found 38 out of 39 immersion suits not fit for use. In this case, the immersion suits were also only five years old. In addition to these cases, the Administrator said it continues to find immersion suits in unserviceable condition during Quality Control Boardings and during Annual Safety Inspections.
In order to prevent future instances of defective or improperly maintained immersion suits, owners, operators, Masters, officers, and crew members must regularly inspect all immersion suits in accordance with their safety management system,
…the RMI advised.
They are also recommended to thoroughly inspect all immersion suits prior to calling US ports in accordance with the Critical Items Checklist (MSD 340).
On their part, ROs acting on behalf of the Administrator should inspect all immersion suits during annual surveys. Flag State inspectors will also be inspecting all immersion suits during the annual safety inspections.
It has become clear that “spot checking” and not inspecting all immersions suits thoroughly is not acceptable and could put a seafarer’s life in jeopardy in the event of an emergency,