Yet another accident involving lifeboat drill

John Campbell
16th September 2010, 17:49
UK RESCUERS plucked six tanker crew members from the sea by helicopter and three others were hurt when a drill went wrong off the Isle of Wight.

BP Shipping’s 113,782dwt British Cormorant was conducting a drill with its rescue boat yesterday morning when a cable snapped, throwing the six men into the sea and injuring three seafarers on the ship.

Coastguards winched the men from the water to the chopper and took them to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. The helicopter subsequently evacuated two crewmen from the ship to a hospital; one of them had suspected spinal injuries.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency told Fairplay that all the crewmen were wearing lifejackets, high-visibility clothing and helmets.

An investigation is being carried out by the MCA.

Satanic Mechanic
16th September 2010, 18:17
Thats a move away from the usual accidents.

Have to ask why there were six in boat on single fall that has a crew of three!!!!!

Billieboy
16th September 2010, 19:51
I was wondering that too, SM!

neil nic
16th September 2010, 20:24
Wouldn't be much of a rescue boat if it could only launch and recover three crew= no rescue!!! Maybe some other problem with the fall wire..

muldonaich
16th September 2010, 21:49
have to agree with you neil

James_C
16th September 2010, 22:02
I overheard communications between the Coastguard and 'British Cormorant' on VHF on Monday as my ship was in Southampton.

I sailed on a sistership (British Curlew) a few years back, and a photo of the type of FRC onboard is here (same type fitted to British Trader):

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/148744/title/fast-rescue-craft/cat/500
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/66074/title/fast-rescue-boat/cat/500
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/66130/title/british-trader-fast-re/cat/500 (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/66074/title/fast-rescue-boat/cat/500)

Whilst the boat is certified for 6 persons maximum (3 crew plus 3 survivors), as can be seen from the photo it must certainly have been 'cosy' onboard with 6.
It perhaps may not have proven wise to have had that many men onboard whilst launching/recovering the boat for a routine monthly drill, especially considering the weather conditions off the Nab at the time.

Satanic Mechanic
17th September 2010, 01:25
Wouldn't be much of a rescue boat if it could only launch and recover three crew= no rescue!!! Maybe some other problem with the fall wire..

What I meant was, why were they trying to launch the boat with a full compliment on board - they are not really designed for that. They launch much faster than they recover so the forces involved are much greater going down than coming up, especially if they do the No.1 favourite of stopping before reaching the water the shock loading will be at least double that on the way up.

Not much point in launching a rescue boat with no room for anyone to be rescued

RayJordandpo
17th September 2010, 10:23
Must agree with you there SM. Many wires have parted due to shock load. According to the manual for our FRC (offload release) Never stop the boat quickly during launching ops or use the foot pedal for releasing the hook until completely waterborne. Although the system is designed to only release when the tension is off, due to "bounce" in the wire and the wire momentarily becoming slack it can confuse the mechanism into thinking the boat is in the water and release the hook. Then the sentence in the manual that scares me "Resulting in fatalities"

Billieboy
17th September 2010, 13:51
It could be, that the people concerned were fully conversant with launching a life boat; but did not know what they were doing with a rescue boat, as it is NOT a BOT/DOTI Requirement! (see my sig. line).

Landi
17th September 2010, 16:14
FYI. All were released from hospital and are now back onboard.

Ian

Satanic Mechanic
17th September 2010, 16:26
FYI. All were released from hospital and are now back onboard.

Ian

Good to hear - but dare I even ask what the reaction in Sunbury is - I can almost hear them now pontificating to the masses. I predict painful patronising and even worse mock trauma cases.

Or have things changed any under John Ridgeway?

McCloggie
17th September 2010, 16:34
Most important is that everyone is OK, but that seems to be more by luck than judgement.

Billieboy makes an interesting point - were the crew not fully conversant with the launch procedure and if not, why not?

I am in no way taking a populist shot at "HSE" here, but if people are not allowed to train for a MOB boat launch because it may be too dangerous how on earth do we expect them to launch the boat safely when it matters? Now this may not be the case here but the "prudent man" would ensure that crew knew how to launch a rescue boat and run sufficient drills to train people.

If as some are suggesting here that the design of same rescue boat is wrong then that is a different arguement and one then asks why the ship was provided with inappropriate facilities.

Training in a controlled regime is one thing but it should not replace regular drills where personnel gain experience of the equipment and its limitations.

McC

James_C
17th September 2010, 16:39
SM,
Going on previous form I'd imagine a complete ban on all activities on and within a 25m radius of the rescue boat, with nobody allowed to even contemplating using it (even in an emergency) without express voice and written permission from the CEO.
After all, remember the fallout from the lift incident some years ago - a complete ban on the use of ALL accommodation and engine room lifts throughout the fleet, including a ban on using dumb waiters!

James_C
17th September 2010, 16:48
McC,
I can appreciate what you're saying entirely.
But think on this - most of these boats are designed to be safe to use in upto (circa) 4m seas.
So next time we're at sea and it's blowing a bit, should we not therefore attempt to launch the boat, conduct a drill and recover the same in 4 metre seas?
It'd be a brave man who would!
The problem with rescue boats (not FRC - different kettle of fish entirely) such as those on large, slab sided ships like the Cormorant, and indeed most other ships, is that they're there purely to tick the correct regulatory boxes with little regard for their practical use in anything less than perfect weather conditions and minimal crew onboard.
If we are to have to rescue boats, then I personally think the training and equipment should be akin to the RN/RFA 'crash boat' model.
However that's all very expensive and requires a LOT of training time, so the chances are it'll never happen.

Satanic Mechanic
17th September 2010, 17:03
SM,
Going on previous form I'd imagine a complete ban on all activities on and within a 25m radius of the rescue boat, with nobody allowed to even contemplating using it (even in an emergency) without express voice and written permission from the CEO.
After all, remember the fallout from the lift incident some years ago - a complete ban on the use of ALL accommodation and engine room lifts throughout the fleet, including a ban on using dumb waiters!

Oh yeah I forgot about that one - you weren't allowed to use the lift despite the fatality happening in the actual lift shaft. I think you are being way to liberal - the obvious way forward is to confine everybody to the accomodation so there is no chance of them going overboard.(Thumb) Also avoiding all shipping lanes in order not to be in the vicinity of potential rescue efforts.

On a more serious note - you are of course absolutely correct in your second post that the rescue boat is in the main part a 'box ticker' - they are hideous bits of kit - the very thought of trying to launch one in a 4m sea would attract the attention of Dignitas as an alternative form of suicide. Did you ever see the E class ones, they had a petrol engine (interesting storage problems right away) and an on load release cord with a GREEN toggle - "pull green toggle for a one way ticket to the promised land" - scary stuff. Always looked on the rescue boat crew as some sort of 'punishment detail'.
Back to the incident - why would anyone put 6 people in a rescue boat to lower it? I can only imagine they had put in some sort of unreasonable overtime demand that week.

Nick Balls
17th September 2010, 17:13
James C with the right equipment and the right people launching a boat in a 4 Mt sea is a routine job ! (Just ask anyone in the stand-boat game ) However the problem is a twofold one. One: A large proportion of boat launching equipment is of poor design: Namely very often over complicated and of inadequate strength (Build to a price and built to impress the purchaser (99.9%) of the time someone who 'thinks' he knows what is needed but in fact dos'nt ! TWO: Most Merchant Ships have a low level of ability when it comes to boat launching and recovery (I include myself it this) There is great skill needed to launch a boat in a sea and this only comes with lots of practice !
Yes I have done all the courses and held a FRC Coxswains certificate and have launched into 5 Mt seas. Yet I would say that I was not competent , simply due to the lack of experience.
Now here lies a problem. Do you spend the time and inherent risk involved in realistic drills, or do you accept the normal (adequate?) training level and accept that in a real emergency the boat will be useless. Well that I suppose depends on what the requirements of the vessel are and its size of crew.
Most operations that I have been responsible for in the past, I accepted the limitations , trained as much as possible and realized that I would in fact not launch over the limitations of that training or equipment. That is the boat would only be launched in 'Good conditions' The last 10 years of my working career saw me looking at more and more new designs of davit (and having to get to grips with them) than the previous 20! Of those last few years up until 2008 I came across more and more poorer and poorer designs and less usable equipment. a fact frequently now being pointed out by both Insurance and the likes of MIAB.

Satanic Mechanic
17th September 2010, 17:22
Of those last few years up until 2008 I came across more and more poorer and poorer designs and less usable equipment. a fact frequently now being pointed out by both Insurance and the likes of MIAB.

But they were all approved I wager(Cloud)

You are also right about the lack of skills in this department - to be fair as you say its not really our main job and training opportunities are limited.

McCloggie
17th September 2010, 17:30
I know of a petrol engined rescue boat provided to an FPSO which could not be used as it was deemed to be unsafe to use in a Hazardous Area! One assumes - and indeed hopes - that a suitable SBV was available.

SM's point about numbers still needs to be addressed - namely why try to launch with six onboard in the first place? This could be people not working to procedures or misunderstanding them which means that the procedure is to blame.

James - I see where you are coming from as well. There is probably some weasle worded procedure stipulating the conditions and times that the MOB boat can be used and it is" in spec" because in any conditions outside the spec everyone has to be kept inside the accommodation!

Again, I am merely pointing out the stupidity of the arguement and not agreeing with it.

McC

Nick Balls
17th September 2010, 17:55
Well put Mc Cloggie
Yes SM of course its all approved! Don't make me laugh , having arranged drydocking type 5 year inspections with 'competent and approved' tests (done I might add on some very good quality ships and companies) I have no confidence that the system is adequate in spotting serious flaws in the arrangements

Satanic Mechanic
17th September 2010, 18:21
Well put Mc Cloggie
Yes SM of course its all approved! Don't make me laugh , having arranged drydocking type 5 year inspections with 'competent and approved' tests (done I might add on some very good quality ships and companies) I have no confidence that the system is adequate in spotting serious flaws in the arrangements

Its the old trade off between quality and cost - the rules are loose enough to accomodate both

James_C
17th September 2010, 19:09
James C with the right equipment and the right people launching a boat in a 4 Mt sea is a routine job ! (Just ask anyone in the stand-boat game )

Nick,
I've done a few trips in the offshore/standby game and quite agree that with even average equipment but the right people it's not a problem.
However, in the main the RB/FRC equipment I've encountered offshore was generally much better designed and maintained (looked at every day) than on your average deepsea cargo ship. They would indeed launch in 4m seas (and above, at discression), but only for a good reason, otherwise the boats would be in the water almost every day of the week, if only to nip over to the rig for the papers and mail.
These FRC Coxswains/boatmen, who have no other real responsibilities onboard, have the opportunity to practice daily on what are smaller ships, with a lower freeboard to which they generally return to trip after trip, in many cases for years.
It's not quite the same kettle of fish as on a 115,000dwt, high freeboard slab sided tanker (like the Cormorant) where everyone else has another job to be getting on with and where the crews are continually alternating between ship classes/types and in most cases different designs of RB/FRC.
By and large, the equipment is badly designed and in operation fickle bordering on extremely dangerous (all type approved!), and the crews do not have the time nor opportunity to practice with them as much as they should do.
Until there are major changes to the standard of design, manufacture, maintenance and approval/certification of the equipment and a leap forward in the training of the crews, then rescue boats on most ships are an inherent waste of time and like modern day lifeboats will kill and injure more men than they'll ever save.

Billieboy
17th September 2010, 19:10
Having seen hand lever operated fire hydrant valves specified, purchased and delivered for Refinery Safety systems, (the valves were supposed to be buried two meters under road level), at a nameless BP site. Nothing surprises me!

John Campbell
17th September 2010, 19:55
James_C
Wise words indeed from one who knows - I hope you convey them to the MAIB


Until there are major changes to the standard of design, manufacture, maintenance and approval/certification of the equipment and a leap forward in the training of the crews, then rescue boats on most ships are an inherent waste of time and like modern day lifeboats will kill and injure more men than they'll ever save.

Nick Balls
17th September 2010, 20:50
James C , I completely agree with your last. This clearly annoys the heck out of a lot of seagoing people! A clear case of designs being approved by people who have no practical experience of the real requirements.

Duncan112
17th September 2010, 22:09
. Did you ever see the E class ones, they had a petrol engine (interesting storage problems right away) .

I was 2/E on a Suezmax Bulk Carrier with a free fall lifeboat and the attendant rescue boat with petrol outboard motor.

Having had my fill of fast boats ashore I let the ETO and cadets get on with testing it - came back and said that the engine lacked power and smoked badly, got ready to have a look at the engine but thought that I would change the fuel first, the fuel being kept in the paint locker. On entering the paint locker the penny dropped - the ship had stored fuel for the Rescue Boat and Free Fall Lifeboat in Rotterdam, prior to my joining. American outboard engine (Mercury I think) and instruction book advised the use of gasoline, drums of gas oil labelled in Dutch "Gasoilie" drums of petrol (Benzine) untouched.

Fortunately once the fuel had been changed the boat ran like a dream

Moral of the story - when you have a multinational crew make sure there is no conflict between product identification.

GRAHAM D
17th September 2010, 22:41
If anyone is interested here is the MCA press release.

Maritime & Coastguard Agency


Press Notice No: 286-10
Monday, September 13, 2010
Posted 16:47 GMT

COASTGUARD HELICOPTER RECOVERS SIX AFTER BOAT DRILL INCIDENT

At quarter to twelve this morning, the master of the tanker, British Cormorant were carrying out a drill with their rescue boat when one of the lines snapped injuring three crewmen on the ship and causing the rescue boat to capsize which deposited the six crewmen into the water.



Six rescued crewmen in the Coastguard rescue helicopter

The Coastguard rescue helicopter from Lee on Solent was scrambled and recovered six crewmen from the water and landed them at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. The helicopter then recovered a crewman to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth with suspected spinal injuries from the ship.

The helicopter has undertaken a further visit to the ship and evacuated a further crewman to hospital.

The Bembridge RNLI lifeboat was requested to launch to recover the ships rescue boat, which has now been recovered for inspection.

The British Cormorant is at anchor at the Nab anchorage waiting to berth to discharge its cargo.

Lucy Tanner, Watch Manager, Solent Coastguard said:

The Coastguard rescue helicopter provided a swift recovery to the six crewmen in the water.

Fortunately all were wearing lifejackets which ensured that they all remained afloat and visible to the aircraft crew.

Inspectors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Marine accident Investigation Branch are now onboard the vessel to conduct an investigation into what happened.

Posted By: Fred Caygill



For further details contact:
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency Press Office
023 8032 9401

Billieboy
18th September 2010, 06:04
Given the low manning scales of today, as soon as the six crew members hit the water, the Vessel was unseaworthy! With another three being airlifted to hospital, the low number of crew remaining, would require a full shutdown to maintain reasonable safety standards!

Was this the reason that the drill was being carried out so close to shore? I would assume that the operations book will have to be rewritten to accommodate HSE requirements in the future.

randcmackenzie
18th September 2010, 23:04
The rescue boat fall wire(s), were they in good condition, should have been more than adequate to withstand any shock loading imposed by a fully loaded boat, or even overloaded boat.

I would look first at where the wire parted, and will be very surprised if it is not found to have broken where it turns round a sheave in the stowed position.

Caused in many cases by boats being hove up tight in to the davits, and not slacked off on to the hooks on the davit heads passing through the blocks.

Constant vibration at sea results in metal fatigue and wire failure.

Landi
21st September 2010, 17:16
A lot of pontificating about the whys and wherefores, while not being involved in the incident gives us all the chance to speculate, I think the title of the first post may have misdirected us, the MCA report states that "British Cormorant were carrying out a drill with their rescue boat when one of the lines snapped injuring three crewmen on the ship and causing the rescue boat to capsize which deposited the six crewmen into the water."

Note the terminology "one of the lines" rather than this being the single main wire on the winch it would seem to me that it may have been a rope line or painter that may have become caught while the boat was being lowered to the water, which snapped injuring the deck crew and overturned the boat before it reached the water, or the boat may have been overturned by a wave on launching causing the painter to snap back and injure deck crew.

From looking at the photographs in the various news reports, of the ships crew in the helicopter and on leaving the aircraft at the landing site they seem to be in good health. As Billyboy states with six crew in the water and three injured on the ship, the helicopter was probably the best method of retrieving the six from the water.

A few pointers:
FCR's are normally lowered to the water and manoeuvred once every month.

There are a vast number of work orders for the maintenance of the boat and davit, checking, greasing and replacing the wire. With yearly makers/class approved contractors.

The person in command of the boat will have, or should have, completed a three day FCR course.

The boats are stowed in a cradle with no weight taken on the davit cable while in the stowed position.

Normal crew of the boats are three persons, why six were in the boat remains to be seen, and if this had any to do with the cause of the incident also remains to be seen, but having six persons in the boat would not be above its capacity, it is designed to be able to retrieve the three crew and any persons they have rescued in a wave height of 4m, with a safety factor of 5 on the wire and davit.

From what I have seen the design of boats, with high powered diesels driving water jet propulsion units and the davits design and control/release systems is improving year on year, the boat fitted to my current ship is a well designed piece of kit, suited to its intended use.

No doubt in a few months time the MCA and MAIB will issue reports and we will all be a little wiser. (Thumb)

Ian

Ron Stringer
21st September 2010, 20:00
Have I missed something? Where did it say that the boat was being launched? Maybe it had 'rescued' its 'survivors' and was being recovered when something failed - hence the large complement.

Just a thought.

Landi
22nd September 2010, 08:25
Hi Ron,

It says "carrying out a drill" in the MCA report.

Ian

Ron Stringer
22nd September 2010, 08:43
Yes, I read that but I believe recovery of the boat is still part of the drill.

When we had drills in port, the boat would be sent away to recover a lifebuoy - representing a survivor. I wondered if they had been even more realistic and put some people in survival suits into the water for recovery.

It was just a question.

FILIPVS
24th April 2011, 23:15
Another accident with 1 officer and 1 cadet dead...
This time in a CMA CGM container ship...

http://www.micportal.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5467:fatality-aboard-the-cma-cgm-christophe-colomb&catid=25:security-measures&Itemid=38

spongebob
8th July 2011, 05:20
Driving around the wharves of Tauranga the other day I notice the "Capsule" type life boats on inclined launching ramps at the stern of several modern ships and I got to wondering how and if the life boat drill of yesteryear was still practiced.
I guess that it was mandatory at least once a voyage but I recall one Master, Desmond Champion the last NZ Master of Pamir, was a stickler for launching a lifeboat at any old time in port and any drill meant a fair old row away from the ship's side to get all and sundry puffing.
These modern space like capsules could not be treated that way so can anyone tell me what the readiness drill entails

Bob

Landi
9th July 2011, 06:15
Hi Bob,

Not much changed, the drill is turn up with life jacket and immersion suit, all present and correct?
Disconnect the battery charging cable, release the jumping stoppers, (which prevent the boat moving on the skids in heavy seas) remove the hook safety pin. Enter the boat, all seated and seat belts fastened, rudder amidships, engine running but not in gear, hatches closed, if you are on a tanker air supply on and water spray pump lined up.
Permission to go, (perhaps wait for the Captain, depending on circumstances) pump the hydraulic jack and brace for landing!
Then its usually a couple of trips around the ship sightseeing and back onboard.
It can be difficult trying to get permission to launch the boat due to security concerns, and you have to make sure you have the depth of water and a decent clearance behind you to allow for launching.
Enclosed boats have to be in the water once every 3 months, dropped once every 6 months and dipped using the recover gear in between.
Most are launched by using a hydraulic jacking arrangement operated from the cox's position, which releases the securing hook, and are backed up with a secondary system that can be operated form the rear seating position.
The release can also be tested using a test rig, to test the release without dropping the boat.
They are recovered using the hydraulically powered winch and boom which is extended out over the stern and the recovery bridle which is permanently connected to the boat connected to the winch. Once the winch is connected the crew are transferred to the rescue boat and the boat is recovered unmanned. Its then heaved up to the winch stop and then boomed in to seat the lifeboat on the launching skids.

Simples!

Ian

spongebob
9th July 2011, 06:31
Thanks for that Ian,a much appreciated answer.

Bob

Cap'n Pete
9th July 2011, 09:52
Having just looked through the MAIB's website, I cannot see any evidence this accident has been, or is currently being investigated.

Lifeboat accidents are now so commonplace that nobody from the IMO down is particularly interested, as they are under constant pressure from the manufacturers of lifeboat equipment not to rock the boat. However, seafarers today are very aware of the dangers of launching lifeboats; I've had several chief officers in the past few years who wanted nothing to do with lifeboat launching exercises, saying it was the third mate's job or they were too busy but the truth was they were scared. As a result, as captain I often had to supervise lifeboat launching myself.

The IMO, the MAIB and particularly the MCA are now political organisations that first and foremost protect the interests of their govenments and their manufacturers, rather than the safety of seafarers.

James_C
9th July 2011, 10:44
There's a mixed school of thought regarding whether freefall boats actually have to be dropped every 6 months at all - after all, what does it prove except that gravity still exists and that a simple hydraulic pump can work?
Both of which can be proven during a simulated launch, i.e. with the fall wires hooked on as per an MGN from a few years back.
Whilst there are a few people out there who 'enjoy' a freefall launch, the majority don't, and I certainly would never force anyone to do it who didn't want to.
Naturally the boats should be made waterborne every few months (or sooner), but is there a real need to do an actual freefall, with the resultant risks?
That's before we even broach the colossal pain in the posterior that is the recovery of a boat that isn't designed to be recovered.

Satanic Mechanic
9th July 2011, 11:24
Ok before we all get carried away in criticism of the modern day we really need to get a few things sorted.

Firstly open life boats with traditional falls were safe to launch and recover as there was no mechanisms attached to the falls. however they were slow to prepare and launch and were no good in fire.

Totally enclosed lifeboats were a considerable leap forward in safety and ease of launching but the mechanisms attached tothe release gear were initially ill designed and they became the death trap we all know about

Designs of release gear have improved immensely and the new standard of centre weighted hooks means that the previous accidents will not happen with this type of equipment.

Free fall lifeboats are to my mind incredible I am a massive fan of them - they have none of the disadvantages of davit boats, they have a fabulous safety record. The only real downside is recovery but in calm waters its not that difficult with a good boat handler. No not everyone likes to be in them when they are launched (personally I love it - over 60 launches now(==D)) but the point is they save lives with little fuss. Personally I would make them compulsory on standard ships. I honestly can't understand why anyone would choose davit launched lifeboats over free falls

Landi
9th July 2011, 15:02
Capt Pete, the in house was completed a while ago.(and no I can not)
James C, Training.
Satanic Machanic, 100% agree

James_C
9th July 2011, 17:46
Landi,
What training benefits are there to be gained from being in the boat from the moment of release to touchdown?
Training in embarkation, release, use of engine/air/waterspray, manoeuvring practice and recovery can be achieved quite satisfactorily without having to actually freefall the boat, and all in a much safer manner.

Cap'n Pete
12th July 2011, 09:32
I was once master of a reefer ship the company had bought from East Germany owners. It had, what had reportedly to be, the first freefall lifeboat fitted to a merchant ship. According to the captain I relieved, the lifeboat had only been launched once in 5 years during which one crewman had suffered severe back injuries and the 2nd Engineer broke both legs. Now under British-flag, the MCA wanted a fully-manned launch to prove the system. However, the wheels on the lifeboat were worn flat and the launching ramp was rotten. This was all repaired in drydock, but (obviously) we were unable to prove it worked by launching. The MCA instructed me to launch the lifeboat at the first opportunity which I did but without anybody onboard. I told both the MCA and the company, if they wanted the lifeboat manned during launching then I wanted an MCA surveyor and a company director onboard at the same time. I never heard another word!

Satanic Mechanic
12th July 2011, 09:47
Ach well up to you lot but I will continue to launch them when I can with a partial compliment on board, I have never had a single problem or injury and every tale I have heard usually turns out to be third or fourth hand and highly apocryphal.

They are safe

They have none of the failings of Davit boats

Get used to them

Nick Balls
12th July 2011, 10:37
SM you make some very valid points. I was always a great fan of realistic boat drills myself and never had an accident in 37 years. It would indeed seem to me that you are generally correct over the matter of free fall yet that is only one aspect of why people are increasing concerned over the general design and use of modern day lifeboat equipment. While I said I had not had an accident with equipment I did increasingly come across some very worrying aspects of this problem. I also had some very close calls! The problem is:
1) levels of training and competence
2) Bad design
3) Inadequate levels of maintenance.
Free fall may indeed provide some of the answers. A brilliant way to abandon ship, a very specilised bit of kit.
Yet you can't use a free fall boat to take over the role of 'rescue boat'. These things are where I have seen some of the worst examples of the items mentioned above.
1) Lack of knowledge of which type of hook is fitted, and lack of knowledge on davit operation.
2) Overly complicated davit and hook design
3) Equipment 'signed off' as maintained in PM incorrectly and PM systems not 'aligned' with davit manufactures recommendations.

Yes, the old old equipment was sturdy and reliable but had poor performance and would indeed be inadequate for todays world. Sad then that with all that technology we still see an increase in the number of accidents.

Satanic Mechanic
12th July 2011, 11:08
SM you make some very valid points. I was always a great fan of realistic boat drills myself and never had an accident in 37 years. It would indeed seem to me that you are generally correct over the matter of free fall yet that is only one aspect of why people are increasing concerned over the general design and use of modern day lifeboat equipment. While I said I had not had an accident with equipment I did increasingly come across some very worrying aspects of this problem. I also had some very close calls! The problem is:
1) levels of training and competence
2) Bad design
3) Inadequate levels of maintenance.
Free fall may indeed provide some of the answers. A brilliant way to abandon ship, a very specilised bit of kit.
Yet you can't use a free fall boat to take over the role of 'rescue boat'. These things are where I have seen some of the worst examples of the items mentioned above.
1) Lack of knowledge of which type of hook is fitted, and lack of knowledge on davit operation.
2) Overly complicated davit and hook design
3) Equipment 'signed off' as maintained in PM incorrectly and PM systems not 'aligned' with davit manufactures recommendations.

Yes, the old old equipment was sturdy and reliable but had poor performance and would indeed be inadequate for todays world. Sad then that with all that technology we still see an increase in the number of accidents.

Rescue Boats - fully agree there is a lack of legislation on these. I hear they are due for review soon though.

As for freefalls - If I never see another davit launched lifeboat I would be very happy indeed but we do need much better rescue boat provision

Landi
13th July 2011, 02:56
Landi,
What training benefits are there to be gained from being in the boat from the moment of release to touchdown?
Training in embarkation, release, use of engine/air/waterspray, manoeuvring practice and recovery can be achieved quite satisfactorily without having to actually freefall the boat, and all in a much safer manner.

The training benefits are in gaining experience and through experience, gaining a confidence in the equipment, its use and understanding that its the best way to depart a ship in trouble.
As I have said in other posts, I was in a Danish yard where the first test of the boat was when the yards office staff all came down for a jolly, the boat was filled to capacity and launched, my company built 7 ships in this yard and no injuries were caused.
From my own experience (15 years with free fall boats) I know of only one case told to me by a DNV surveyor, where anyone was actually injured during the launch of a FFLB, and this was caused when the seats they were sitting in broke loose. Most accidents are caused by equipment failure while recovering, lack of knowledge, poor design or inadequate maintenance.

In the case that first started this post, as with all accidents it was a number of factors that combined to cause the incident, but nothing to do with the actual FFRB launch.

Rescue boats: As has been said in recent posts, are too complex, the design and actual use in service are often impractical, and I look forward to seeing any recommendations for improvements.

Ian

Nick Balls
13th July 2011, 17:19
The best practical recommendations for improvements on FRC type craft will only come from direct long term experience.....look no further than the lads with that experience in the offshore industry. i.e. Those who launch and recover in all weathers at sea ............Yet I very much doubt if that will really happen! Whilst working on supply/rescue boats I learnt more about recovering small craft at sea in a day than I had in 10 years of deep-sea work.

One of the problems is indeed lack of hands on experience with small craft ( No fault there just a fact of life ) and perhaps another good reason why free fall lifeboats are potentially a lot safer.
With FRC's I always taught people that as the recovery was the 'difficult bit' serious consideration should always be given to 'not bother'! (In bad weather) If an emergency operation has been successful and the boat can be got back alongside with the crew recovered via pilot ladder , the boat its self is not worth the risk! One of the biggest problems (in my own experience) being the use of integrated lifting frames on the boat. These things are a menace and whilst a very common design , prove very difficult to reconnect in any kind of swell. Having been in the exact situation as above I have got these boats back via a soft strop and the ships crane. I would rather abandon the boat than risk a mans life in these circumstances. Do that a few times and the owners would soon come up with a better boat!
I have also never seen a heave compensated rescue boat davit on an ordinary vessel that was any good. The best systems are simple and safe conventional single arm davits.

John Lyne
14th July 2011, 20:01
I never forget the time as an Apprentice on the old 'Nassarius' when it was decided, when in port, to swing out one of the lifeboats....after unsticking it from the chocks it cleared the side then 'snap', the forward falls broke and unraveled leaving it swinging in the breeze...hooray! a couple of days in port...I would have loved to have seen the Old Man's report to the Company on that event!

charles henry
17th July 2011, 15:23
Having been in a real lifeboat situation the following happened.
The boat got into the water with three seamen in it.
As it was on the weather side the boat immediately tried to
self destruct against the ships side.

Being the only lifeboat available 70 men tried to get into it.

Trying to get away from the ship it was found that one of the
falls had jammed.

Time and effort in keeping boat from bashing against ships side
whilst sawing through the fall ropes with a blunt knife.

Boat finally cleared ship crowded to gunnels plus many others
in the water holding onto the sides.

My question is in a "modern" lifeboat would there be anything for us to hang
onto?

Just a thought

Chas

Landi
18th July 2011, 03:14
Hi,

See photo below, the grablines are held up in position while launching then released by removing a single securing line when in the water.

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/246959/title/dive-2c-dive-2c-dive/cat/all

Hopefully with a FFLB you have time to board all crew before launching and getting into the situation you were in, it sounds like you will remember that one for the rest of your days.

Ian