Unintentional Release of Freefall Lifeboat – ATSB Final Report

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May 26, 2015

MV Aquarosa. Photo: ATSB


An improperly reset hook was to blame for the unintentional release of a freefall lifeboat from a bulk carrier in the Indian Ocean in 2014, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has determined.

The Malta-flagged MV Aquarosa was transiting the Indian Ocean en route to Fremantle, Western Australia on March 1, 2014 when its freefall lifeboat was inadvertently released during a routine inspection. The accident seriously injured one of the ship’s engineers, who was inside the lifeboat when it was released. The ship’s crew recovered the lifeboat after about 5 hours and resumed its voyage, arriving in Kwinana, near Fremantle, a week later where the injured engineer was transferred to hospital.

Photo: ATSB/Aquarosa
Photo: ATSB/Aquarosa


In its final report, the ATSB said that its investigation determined that the lifeboat on-load release was incorrectly reset after it was last operated before the accident. When the engineer operated the manual release pump to inspect the equipment, the reset release tripped unexpectedly. The lifeboat launched when the simulation wires failed.

The investigation found that although there was an indicator to show that the hook was in the correct position, there was nothing to indicate that the tripping mechanism was correctly reset. It was also found that the design and approval process for the lifeboat’s simulated release system had not taken into account effects of shock loading on the simulation wires.

The full ATSB report can be found HERE.

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