Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lifeboats and Car Ships - unsafe at any height.

The lifeboats of two (sister) car ships can be seen in this photo (photo by K.C.)

gcaptain has posted a video of a lifeboat accident. It looks to me like the releasing gear may not have been fully locked. Here good article about this problem The Lifeboat Imbroglio by Captain Paul Drouin. (PDF) From that article:

The OCIMF survey also showed a general lack of confidence by seafarers in the hook/release gear.
Lack of confidence, that's one way to put it.

The article confirms what I have often suspected, since 1990 lifeboats have killed more mariners then they have saved.

This problem has been know for several years, from the article again:
Finally, what can be said about the lamentable time lag of the imbroglio? As early as 1994, the OCIMF survey into lifeboat accidents was right on the mark. Yet here we are, 14 years later and more than 20 years after serious accidents began to occur with lifeboats still grappling with the same issues.
On a car ship the problem is not launching it's recovery, try hooking up a boat with 90 feet of wire hanging from the davits. Imagine if the ship was rolling.

It seems to me the purpose of the lifeboats on a car ship is to meet SOLAS requirements, nothing more. The trick is to meet the requirements for drills without incident.


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