Nearly a third of ships detained by Paris and Tokyo MoU members from September to November in last year’s concentrated inspection campaign, CIC, on lifeboat launching arrangements had deficiencies dangerous to seafarers aboard them. In a preliminary report, the Paris MOU says that one out of eight lifeboat drills were not carried out satisfactorily.
The findings highlight the poor performance and lack of commonsense and a refusal to substantively address safety issues by lifeboat makers, on-load hook release manufacturers and the industry generally. The Paris MoU has expressed concern about poor boat drills which it says: “is often caused by lack of training… Of the procedures or instructions and identification of hazards associated with launching and recovery of lifeboats one out of 6 was found unsatisfactory. These are related to the safety
management system on board the ship.”
Apart from a lack of concern for seafarers lives on the part of the owners and managers
of the detained vessels, the refusal by the relevant flag states to meet their obligations, and, it must be said the ships’ officers, the findings are a symptom of the disease of minimum standards compliance that infects the industry. It is exacerbated by shoddy, poorly designed lifeboats manufactured by members of an industry which has maintained a tight cloud of secrecy around its actual safety performance worthy of an escaping squid, and whose ethics have been called into question in research such as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Project 555 report.
The need for standardised launch procedures and design of critical equipment such as on-load release hooks – many of which are not fit for purpose – contributes to the training problem, yet the industry has firmly ignored something that even the average whelk could grasp without hesitation but seems to be beyond the relevant manufacturers industry association to comprehend.
It is a situation which would be unacceptable in the road or aviation transport industries.
The Paris MoU says that its 27 member authorities carried out 5,749 inspections. During each inspection vital points of SOLAS Chapter III, ISM and the LSA Code requirements were verified. Preliminary results from the Paris MoU inspections show that one out of every five inspections revealed lifeboat-related deficiencies. During the 3 month period 246 ships have been detained.
Some 30% of these detentions were CIC related. This means that in 80 cases the lifeboat launching appliances had deficiencies which were serious enough to detain the ship.
During the campaign 2,136 CIC-related deficiencies were found. The campaign revealed that one out of every eight drills, when conducted, was not performed satisfactorily.
A total of 32 flags had one or more CIC related detention. These flags cover 76% of the inspections. The flags, which were subject to 10 or more inspections, with the highest CIC related detention record were:
• Switzerland with 12 inspections and 2 detentions (17%),
• Sierra Leone with 47 inspections and 5 detentions (11%),
• Togo with 10 inspections and 1 detention (10%)
• Cambodia with 62 inspections and 6 detentions (10%).
A total of 67 flags, which cover 24% of the inspections, had no CIC related detentions at all.
Most CIC inspections took place on general dry cargo ships (38%), followed by Ro-Ro container ships (15%) and bulk carriers (13%). Bulk carriers have the highest detention rate of (3%), followed by the general dry cargo ships ( 2%) and refrigerated cargo ships (1.2%).
The Port State Control Committee will consider final analysis of the results of the campaign at its meeting in May 2010 and more detailed results will be presented to the International Maritime Organisation.