Over the past 10 years the maritime industry has observed an unacceptably high number of accidents with lifeboats in which crew were injured, sometimes fatally, whilst participating in lifeboat drills and/or inspections. The IMO has been working to introduce measures to reduce the likelihood and severity of such incidents, and the main publications seeking to achieve this are MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1 and MSC.1/Circ.1277, upon which this Note is based. It has been observed that most accidents fall under the following categories:
- Failure of on-load release mechanism;
- Inadvertent operation of on-load release mechanism;
- Inadequate maintenance of lifeboats, davits and launching equipment;
- Communication failures;
- Lack of familiarity with lifeboats, davits, equipment and associated controls;
- Unsafe practices during lifeboat drills and inspections; and
- Design faults other than on-load release mechanisms.
UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a Marine Guidance Note providing guidance on operational and test procedures regarding lifeboats, rescue boats, launching appliances, winches, and on-load release gear. MGN 560(M)
Where this document provides guidance on the law it should not be regarded as definitive. The way the law applies to any particular case can vary according to circumstances - for example, from vessel to vessel and you should consider seeking independent legal advice if you are unsure of your own legal position.
This Marine Guidance Note compiles current guidance on the safe servicing, testing maintenance and drilling of lifeboats.
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