Concerns have arisen regarding the dangers of a hydraulic ram not being properly reset after use in Chinese-made JX-4 release mechanisms from Jiangsu Jiaoyan Marine Equipment Company after a freefall lifeboat launched during a maintenance inspection seriously injuring the occupant. Simulations wires which should have restrained the lifeboat and prevented the launch also failed below their safe working load and are being investigated.
The issue has come to light in a preliminary report by Australia’s Transport Safety Board on the inadvertent launch of a lifeboat from the gearedbulk carrier Aquarosa in March this year.
In Singapore, 5 days before the incident, the second engineer was involved with multiple checks of the lifeboat release hook operation. During these checks, he noticed that the hydraulic system was low on oil and he topped it up. He also noted that the activation of the hook release required between 10 and 15 operations of the hydraulic pump handle.