Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Real chance to save lives

Posted on | March 11, 2011 | 2 Comments

This month, at the IMO Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment, there is a chance for distinguished delegates to make an immediate impression on the number of seafarers killed or injured in lifeboat accidents.

They are still happening, these awful accidents when the very gear that is supposed to save lives is instrumental in taking it.

A group of industry bodies, BIMCO, CLIA, ICS, IFSMA, ITF,IPTA, the Nautical Institute and OCIMF , all of which might be described as having a lot of practical ship-operating experience, are proposing that IMO, without any delay whatsoever, requires that fall preventer devices (FPDs) are made mandatory.

An FPD, which is a stout wire strop, a sling, or perhaps a lock for the mechanism at each end of the boat, is not exactly rocket science, but a lifeline if something goes wrong with the hook and one end of the boat falls out of the davits when it is being lowered or raised. We never used to bother with lifelines, any more than we did safety clothing, but today, nobody would think of going overside, or aloft, without such insurance. Because lifelines save lives and prevent injury, just like car seat belts.

There are plenty of sensible ship operators who have fitted FPDs, because they are unsure of the on-load hooks which some friendly shipbuilder has saddled them with. The co-sponsors of the proposal make the point that this is an interim solution, pending agreed guidelines that will enable people to determine whether the hooks and mechanism they are employing is unsafe and should be replaced, or are perfectly safe and adequate.

The Guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat on load release mechanisms are awaiting some further amendments, which is even more reason for people to opt for the immediate precautions which FPDs represent. It doesn’t seem like a big deal or involve an enormous expenditure, and it could save many tears and vast expense. What’s the problem?


2 Responses to “Real chance to save lives”

    March 16th, 2011 @ 5:50 am

    I have a solution to this problem. I have been fighting for this cause since 2002.

  2. Riromia
    December 8th, 2015 @ 9:54 pm

    I lived in Japan for 2 years and the current saouititn makes my heart ache. I can not begin to imagine what Japan is going through right now Before the comparisons were made in the media, I told my husband that the photos and videos reminded me of the images on display in the memorial museums in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima (after the bombs were dropped). Japanese people are very resilient and they will stoically prevail, as they have before. They will never forget what has happened, but with a quiet dignity they will rebuild.The majority of Japanese people would not shame themselves by looting, as this would bring disgrace upon their families, and their country. They would rather die than do that. They have a saying in Japan, which loosely translated means The nail does not need to be hammered down.’ This means that you don’t stick out, and stay part of the crowd without much fuss. This is a very alien concept in North America, where individual rights are upheld above everything else. I miss living in Japanese society where multi-generational families are the norm, and most everyone is willing to help.

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