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Lifeboat on-load release mechanisms which do not comply with the revised LSA Code must be replaced no later than the first scheduled dry-docking of the ship after 1 July 2014.

2 July 2014 / Web only

Members and clients will be familiar with the IMO MSC decision issued in May 2011 to implement new and stricter safety standards for lifeboats with on-load release mechanisms (OLRM) – also referred to as ‘release and retrieval systems’. SOLAS regulation III/1.5 and associated amendments to the LSA Code resulted from IMO’s work to address this important matter and will, when fully implemented, hopefully reduce the number of accidents occurring during lifeboat launches.1

The new requirements apply to all ships, and for existing ships, the implementation process consists of two phases (ref. IMO Circular MSC.1/Circ.1392). The first phase covers the required actions by the manufacturers of OLRMs. Before 1 July 2013 all manufacturers should have assessed and tested their existing OLRMs for conformity with the new requirements. The assessment results and supporting documentation for each manufacturer’s OLRM can now be found in the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) under ’Evaluation of Hooks’. The next, and final, phase includes the following actions involving shipowners and operators:

  • Identify existing types of OLRMs on all ships and check against the assessment result in GISIS.
  • For OLRMs reported in GISIS as ‘compliant’ or ‘compliant after modification’, ensure that a one-time follow-up overhaul examination is carried out by the manufacturer. In addition to a detailed assessment of the condition of the components of the OLRM, the examination should establish that the system is of the same type as the system that passed the evaluation by the flag State, and if necessary that it has been modified as required, and is suitable for the ship. The statement issued to confirm satisfactory completion of the overhaul examination should be retained on board.
  • For OLRMs reported in GISIS as ‘non-compliant’, ensure that the system is replaced by a system of an approved type. Since every lifeboat complete with its OLRM is type-approved at manufacture, replacement equipment acceptable to the lifeboat manufacturer should be selected where possible - but other replacement equipment considered by the flag State to offer an acceptable level of safety may also be installed.

Members and clients are reminded that the above must be completed no later than the first scheduled dry docking after 1 July 2014, but no later than 1 July 2019.

1 For more detailed information about the new requirements, reference is made to our Loss Prevention Circular No.12-11”Review and new approval of lifeboat hooks” and to the article “SOLAS amendments concerning lifeboat release hooks and retrieval systems” in Gard News 203.