Norsafe ‘Concerned’ by Spate Lifeboat Drill Accidents

File photo shows a free fall lifeboat as it hits the water during launch. Credit: Norsafe
File photo shows a free fall lifeboat as it hits the water during launch. Credit: Norsafe

Norway-based Norsafe, a leading manufacturer of marine life-saving equipment for the commercial and offshore market, says it is concerned about the recent spate of lifeboat drill accidents that have resulted in serious injury to crew members and even death in some cases.

A report released in April 2016 by the Seafarers International Research Centre found that tight vessel schedules often did not allow sufficient time for drills and crew were often too frightened to take part as they had not been properly trained in using the equipment.

“A lifeboat is your last chance to evacuate a vessel, when it is not safe to be onboard or use other means of evacuation so it is vital that crew are properly trained on the LSA and take part in regular drills,” said Endre Eidsvik, SVP of Service for Norsafe.

“Skimping on training to save money is not an option and can cost lives. A lifeboat and its launching system is designed, built, tested and installed to a set of strict guidelines so it should be possible to safely embark and launch it even in rough weather, and under the worst trim and list conditions of the vessel,” he continued.

Norsafe’y message comes after several high-profile lifeboat drill accidents aboard cruise ships, cargo ships, and offshore oil rigs over the past few years.

The IMO constantly reviews and implements changes to equipment and procedures to help reduce accidents in cooperation with life-saving appliance (LSA) manufacturers, but Norsafe argues that none of these will be beneficial unless crew are thoroughly trained and are confident in using lifeboat

For its part, Norsafe has set up two modern, STCW approved, full scale crew training centers in Norway and Greece. The company also offers a comprehensive maintenance program to its clients to determine a structured servicing and maintenance plan to ensure the equipment functions as it should. In certain cases, during maintenance visits Norsafe personnel can also help to check that crew are sufficiently confident in using the equipment or answer any questions or concerns that they may have.