Survitec Group has developed a new Fall Preventer Device (FPD) to help reduce the number of accidents caused by the failure of on-load lifeboat release hooks. The product comes with a Lloyd's Register certificate as standard.
Following a number of accidents, ship owners are being strongly advised to ensure that all vessels are now equipped with this sort of device to ensure compliance with MSC guidance circular 1327.
In use the FPD's are attached between the lifeboat and the fore and aft davit fall blocks. This provides a second line of safety in case the loaded hook system fails while lowering or raising the lifeboat. The safety strops are removed before activating the sling release mechanism just before the lifeboat enters the water. The strops are then reattached before the lifeboat is retrieved from the water.
Each FPD is marked with the date it first came into service and it is stressed that the strop should not be used for any other purpose. All FPDs need to be in place before any drill, testing, inspection or maintenance work is carried out that requires people to be in the lifeboat.
Manufactured from Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) rope, Survitec's new Fall Preventer Device is exceptionally strong yet it is easy to handle by the ship's crew. It offers excellent resistance to UV and chemical damage. The product is supplied with an instruction manual and a safety warning tag to attach to the release handle in the lifeboat to remind operators to remove the FPD before activating the lifeboat release mechanism. Fully compliant with the MSC.1/Circ 1327 guidelines, the FPD can be retrofitted to all existing release and retrieval systems.
Under the new regulations adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2011 all new on-load release mechanisms for lifeboats must be evaluated against new design requirements by 1 July 2013. Any non-compliant hooks must be replaced no later than the first scheduled dry docking of the ship after 1 July 2014 but in any case, not later than 1 July 2019.