Seafarers may die if their ships are fitted with counterfeit hydrostatic releases now in the market and being placed aboard ships warns the UK-based Marine Safety Forum, Sweden’s Maritime Safety Inspectorate, SMSI, and equipment manufacturer CM Hammar.
In a letter to India’s Directorate General of Shipping, DGS, which holds the country’s maritime safety portfolio, SMSI’s director of maritime safety, Johan Franson, says that all but one of a number of hydrostatic releases bought by a ship-owner from International Ship’ Stores Suppliers in Mumbai as Hammar H20 devices failed when tested. When examined by CM Hammar in Goteborg, Sweden, the releases were found to be counterfeit.
Counterfeit and non-compliant copies of safety critical equipment such as lifeboat on-load release hooks and Emergency Escape Breathing Apparatus, EEBDs, are produced in Asia, where there is little enforcement of in tellectual property rights, patents or quality standards. CountThey are unlikely to perform adequately in an emergency.
A warning ussued by CM Hammar says: “We have tested several of the copies. Not a single one of them worked properly… the fake H20 will definitely not release a liferaft or an EPIRB. We see this as a very serious situation… If any of these ships (carrying fake hydrostatic releases) were to sink there will definitely be no liferafts or EPIRBs that will help to rescue the seafarers in danger.”
MAC notes that, apart from the danger to seafarers, in the present anti-shipping atmosphere in case of loss of life or injury it is possible that a ship owner, master or those otherwise responsible for such equipment may be held legally liable if they have not taken steps to ensure that safety-critical equipment is genuine and fit for purpose.
Note the Hammar advice below.
SMSI has asked India’s DGS to find the producer of the fake equipment and take steps to cease production and sale.