Royal Caribbean International’s cruise ship Oasis of the Seas, the biggest gin-palace currently afloat, carries around 8,000 passengers and crew. Schat-Harding has provided eighteen 370-person “mega lifeboats” ready if the time ever comes to evacuate the ship.
Built from fibreglass reinforced polyester using a vacuum technique, the catamaran hull CRV55 lifeboats weigh 16 tonnes stowed condition and 44 tonnes when fully loaded. Two 70 HP diesel engines give the a speed of 6 knots, and are equipped with twin rudders
They are launched using LS45 davit systems which, says the company: “is a completely new integrated system for cruise vessels. The lifeboats are lowered directly from the stowed position, so that no outswing is needed, and the entire boat is positioned outside the hull of the ship. The CRV55 is of reinforced construction and has a special ‘green sea’ lashing system, making it secure in high waves.”
Ole Meijer, executive vice-president of Schat-Harding’s equipment division, explains, “These revolutionary boats and davits have been specially designed for the RCCL Genesis project ships which are being built at STX Europe (formerly Aker Yards). We have worked in close co-operation with STX, RCCL, Germanischer Lloyd and DnV to find a way to improve the safe evacuation of the 8,000-plus passengers and crew who will be sailing on these ships. These new boats will be safer and quicker to board for large numbers of people. They will also be easier to get away from the ship, because the davit does not have to move, and they will be safer once in the sea as they have twin engines and full built-in buoyancy. They fully meet all SOLAS requirements.”
“The boat will hang from two quick release hooks which are simple to operate and which have clear visual indication of both locked and unlocked status. Lashing and bowsing are integrated and embarkation is at the stowed position through four colour-coded doors leading to ergonomically-planned colour-coded seating areas arranged on two levels. The winches are designed with a retraction system to lift the lowering block free from the boat canopy and a retardation function to reduce forces on the davit, winch and lifeboat hook when stopping.”
MAC wonders when such davit systems will be available on merchant vessels but isn’t holding his breath for an answer.