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Web Alert: Safety of equipment - an update on lifeboats and onboard lifting appliances and winches

26 April 2016

In March 2016, the IMO’s sub-committee on Ship Design and Equipment met at the IMO Headquarters in London.  The sub-committee considered several agenda items including relating to safety of equipment, specifically maintenance and repair obligations, in particular, the use and safety of lifeboats and onboard lifting appliances and winches.

In relation to lifeboats, the sub-committee finalised a draft Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) resolution on ‘Requirements for maintenance, thorough examination, operational testing, overhaul and repair of lifeboats and rescue boats, launching appliances and release gear’.  The MSC resolution is expected to be adopted at MSC 96 in May 2016, in conjunction with associated amendments to SOLAS regulation III/3 and III/20.  The draft resolution makes a subtle but important change to the manner in which weekly and monthly inspection routines are to be conducted. Specifically, it states that weekly/monthly inspections and routine maintenance as specified in the equipment manuals ‘shall’ now be conducted by authorised service providers or by shipboard personnel under the direction of a senior ship’s officer.  It remains to be seen as to how this requirement will be implemented in practice.
In relation to onboard lifting appliances and winches, a working group was established by the sub-committee to consider and develop a set of draft goals for the safety of onboard lifting appliances and winches and also to consider how best to proceed with developing possible SOLAS implementation.  The club welcomes a review of these issues in order to combat instances of personal injury and damage to property that may have been caused at least in part by failed lifting equipment. 
The club understands that INTERCARGO is contributing to working groups considering these issues. The club will continue to monitor developments and provide further updates to members when more information is available.