With around 2,500 crew and passengers reported killed or missing in 2005-2007, Lloyd’s Register and the UK P&I Club have launched an initiative to highlight the vital importance of life saving appliances working properly and lifeboat drills being conducted safely. The two organisations have recently published their Life-Saving Appliances Pocket Checklist, which lists and explains critical areas to be checked, monitored and maintained. This should reduce the risk of Port State Control detentions.
During 2005-07, one third of all life saving appliance deficiencies reported to Lloyd’s Register concerned lifeboats----three times as many as launching arrangements for survival craft and lifebuoys. Deficiencies were also observed in lifeboat inventories, inflatable liferafts, lifejackets, operational readiness maintenance and inspections, on-board training and instructions, embarkation arrangements for survival craft, rescue boats and liferaft stowage.
Life-Saving Appliances Pocket Checklist warns that if equipment is broken or missing or the ship suffers damage en route, the master has to notify the port authorities prior to entry and of any permanent or temporary remedies agreed with the flag state. If notice is not given, PSC has clear grounds for inspection which may lead to detention. The publication lists nine certificates, 15 documents and other records which need to be kept up to date and readily available on board merchant vessels. Certificates relate to safety equipment, cargo ship radios, lifeboats, rescue boats, liferafts, launching appliances, air supply bottles (if fitted), search and rescue transponders (SARTs) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs).
The documents and records concern maintenance programmes, SOLAS training manuals and on board training aids, muster lists, radio licences and drills. Inspection and testing documentation should encompass life saving and launching appliances, communications equipment, lifeboat and rescue boat engines, emergency lighting, EPIRB shore-based maintenance, liferafts, fire extinguishers and air supply bottles (if fitted). Launching and stowage arrangements focus on davits and falls, bowsing tackles and embarkation arrangements.