IMCA launched a safety flash that focused on two incidents relating to life-raft accidents, as during the release of the life boats, they fell into the sea. The first incident was caused because of an inexperienced second mate, whereas the second one, was caused by a technical matter.
#1 First Incident:
During monthly inspection of the life-raft the port side life-raft was by accident freed into the water and was activated. The second mate was inspecting how to release the life-raft and checked if it was lashed properly.
By checking, he opened up the clip that launched the life-raft into the water, and because the painter line was still connected, the life-raft was activated. This resulted to the life-raft being released into the water and activated. The bridge was instantly informed, and the vessel made a MOB manoeuvre and crew were mustered. FRC was lowered to retrieve the life-raft, which was recovered without incident.
According to IMCA, the second mate was an amateur with this type of release system and on his first job on this kind of vessel, made his first contract on this type vessel.
- Lessons Learned:
1. Place an extra seal on the locking clip to prevent accidental opening when walking past or during inspection and make clear that this part must not be opened unless in an emergency.
2. Improve familiarising and training of crew;
3. Encourage crew to ask for advice from someone who is more familiar with vessel systems.
#2 Second Incident
As the vessel was on anchorage in a quiet bay, the crew decided to test both lifeboats. As the port side boat was released into the sea, with crew onboard, a hydraulic part stopped working and the forward davit arm fell down to the horizontal.
When this happened, the chief mate, who was operating the levers, kept releasing the lifeboat to the water, highlighting not to release the hooks, until he said so. Yet, despite efforts to safely release the lifeboat, the crew inside noticed that it the lowering was improperly done, and the lifeboat tipped bow down by approx. 0.5m.
The lifeboat was recovered by a crane and stored on deck as a quick repair was not possible.
According to IMCA, there were no injuries reported. Later on, the investigation resulted to a damaged thread and broken bearing in the davit hydraulic equipment.
- Actions Taken
1. Cleaned articulated bearing, found thread inside worn and rusted, bearing cracked and a piece broke off. All other similar articulated bearings checked to see if they also needed to be replaced.
2. Temporary fix arranged to ensure that the davit arm cannot move further than normal lowering position.
In light of the lifeboat incidents and accidents, in late July, USCG advised personnel to be properly trained on using life-saving equipment, according to ‘Lifeboat operations on manned facilities‘ safety bulletin. In the meantime, BIMCO developed new guidance for seafarers on the safe launching and recovery of them, using fall preventer devices (FPDs), aiming to reduce the number of seafarer fatalities and injuries.