201103 Fall of lifeboat during launch

03 Jan 2011 MARS

In advance of a statutory survey, the master of a tanker alongside a terminal ordered the chief mate and safety officer to lower vessel's port side (offshore) lifeboat and confirm its proper operation. This was successfully carried out and the lifeboat was secured. Later that morning, in the presence of the class surveyor, the same lifeboat was lowered, when the forward fall wire parted and the empty lifeboat fell into the water.

Root cause/contributory factors
Inadequate maintenance: faulty/inadequate condition assessment, lubrication, maintenance, adjusting, assembly, cleaning and resurfacing.

Lessons learnt
1. Clear standing orders from master and chief engineer must be given for lowering of lifeboats in port and acknowledged by all officers;
2. All the officers and ratings must read and acknowledge IMO circular MSC1/Circular 1206 'Measures to prevent accident with lifeboats'.

Corrective/preventative actions
1. The details of the situation will be circulated to the fleet together with the preventative actions which need to be taken for avoiding recurrence;
2. Risk assessment procedure to be created by the company's safety department to ensure that all activities which may involve hazards are identified and appropriate actions to mitigate the risks are prescribed.