Circulars
  • Date: 1/12/2018
  • Series: SM
  • Number: SM 1 - 2018
  • Case number: 2018/1595

Release hook for rescue boat was non-compliant with LSA Code requirements

Hook incident (JXN-3), NOREQ-FRB 610 rescue boat

Background

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has been notified of an accident in connection with launching a rescue boat from a passenger ferry.

During a drill, the crew were to practice launching and manoeuvring the rescue boat. After having boarded the rescue boat, one of the crew members removed the safety pin from the release hook and pulled the release handle while the rescue boat was hanging from the davit, 8 metres above the water surface. The hook released and the rescue boat fell into the sea with two crew members on board.

The fall resulted in serious back injuries to one of them, while the other one suffered minor ankle and knee injuries. 

Triggering cause

The hook could be released by mistake before the MOB boat reached the water, and the hook was released while the MOB boat was hanging 8 metres above the water.

Barrier breach

  • The hook has an on-load release function and was not secured in accordance with the requirements of the LSA Code.  
  • The hook was wheel-marked and certified as an off-load release hook, but has the design and function of an on-load release hook.
  • The hook did not have hydrostatic interlock/securing mechanism or equivalent, as required by the LSA Code for hooks with an on-load release function.
  • The securing mechanism was not provided with a protective cover (or equivalent) that needed to be broken before removal, as required by the LSA Code for hooks with an on-load release function.
  • The launching procedure on board did not include any warnings that the securing mechanism must not be removed until the rescue boat is on the water, as specified in the manual. A warning that the securing mechanism must not be removed could have prevented the accident, but such warning would not be sufficient to meet the applicable requirements.
  • The hook and release handle were not marked with signs as specified by the manufacturer and required by the LSA Code.
  • The risk assessment on board did not take account of the risk related to the on-load function.

Applicable requirements

Rescue boats/lifeboats must be provided with hooks/hook systems in accordance with the LSA Code. 

Fitting of on-load release hooks for rescue boats and single-fall lifeboats, cf. LSA 4.4.7.6.17, is not required nor prohibited as long as they comply with the requirements of the LSA Code.

Such on-load release hooks should normally also be included on the list of approved hooks in the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).

All launching arrangements with an on-load release hook shall by 1 July 2019 comply with the revised LSA Code of 01.01.2013 or be recertified, cf. MSC1/Circ.1392.

Corrective measures

To avoid similar incidents in the future, the following must be carried out on all vessels carrying a rescue boat:

  1. The company and master must check the function and operation of their respective hooks, regardless of model – the mentioned type JXN-3 or not. Whether the hook may be released with load, making it an on-load release hook, should especially be considered, no matter what the certificate indicates.
  2. The company and master must ensure that anyone involved in the rescue boat emergency response on board has sufficient knowledge about the existing hook system and how it works.
  3. Risk assessments shall uncover risks related to the use of life-saving appliances. Safety instructions/training manual on board the vessels shall be updated to include a description of the use of safety equipment. Instructions and information shall be expressed in easily understood terms and illustrated wherever possible. Additionally, the instructions for use of the hook shall be displayed in the vicinity of the hook.
  4. According to guidelines from IMO in MSC.1/Circ. 1327 (MSC.1/ Circ. 1392 and MSC.1/ Circ. 1466), a fall prevention strop must be fitted between the pad eye and rescue boat in order to prevent the boat from falling until older hook systems with on-load release function are rectified. Rectification must be completed within 1 July 2019.
  5. If a company has different types of life-saving appliances on board different ships, this must be an area of particular focus when crew members are transferred from one ship to another. This shall be included in the safety management system on board. 

References

The below excerpts from the LSA Code show that the requirements of 01.01.2013 are stricter than those of 01.01.2010

Excerpts from the LSA Code of 01.01.2013 (Res. MSC.320(89))

LSA Code 4.4.7.6.7.2: 

“on-load release capability shall release the lifeboat with a load on the hooks.

This release mechanism shall be provided with a hydrostatic interlock unless other means are provided to ensure that the boat is waterborne before the release mechanism can be activated. In case of failure or when the boat is not waterborne, there shall be a means to override the hydrostatic interlock or similar device to allow emergency release.

This interlock override capability shall be adequately protected against accidental or premature use.

Adequate protection shall include special mechanical protection not normally required for off-load release, in addition to a danger sign.

The protection shall be deliberately destroyed by applying a suitable minimum force, for instance by breaking a protection glass or translucent cover.

A label or thin wire seal is not considered sufficiently robust. To prevent a premature on-load release, on-load operation of the release mechanism shall require multiple, deliberate and sustained action or actions by the operator.”

Excerpts from the LSA Code of 01.01.2010

LSA Code 4.4.7.6.2.2:

“on-load release capability shall release the lifeboat with a load on the hooks.

This release shall be so arranged as to release the lifeboat under any conditions of loading from no load with the lifeboat waterborne to a load of 1.1 times the total mass of the lifeboat when loaded with its full complement of persons and equipment.

This release capability shall be adequately protected against accidental or premature use.

Adequate protection shall include special mechanical protection not normally required for off-load release, in addition to a danger sign.

To prevent a premature on-load release, on-load operation of the release mechanism should require a deliberate and sustained action by the operator.”

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