Feb 272013
Forward Davit Arm Showing Parted Wire

Forward Davit Arm Showing Parted Wire. Photo: Maritime Safety Investigation Unit

Malta’s Maritime Safety Investigation Unit has issued a safety alert following the discovery of significant corrosion on inner strands of a fall wire involved in the falling of of a lifeboat on 10 February 2013. Five seafarers died in the incident which occurred aboard Thomson Majesty while berthed alongside in Santa Crux de La Palma.

Says the safety alert: ” The wire rope had parted approximately where it rested over the topmost sheave, when the davit was in a stowed position.

“The fore and aft davit’s falls were replaced on 22 August 2010 and the next scheduled replacement was August 2014.
 “The launching appliance had been dynamically tested in May 2012.
“Initial results of the tests carried out on the parted ends of the wire indicate significant corrosion damage to the inner strands of the wire”.
At about 1030, the ship commenced a General Emergency and Life Boat Drill for all crew members.
Three lifeboats on the outboard side were to be lowered to the water and sent away for training purposes.
During the recovery and hoisting of no.9 lifeboat the forward wire fall parted causing the boat to swivel on the aft hook.
As the boat reached an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the horizontal the aft end of the boat and the hook failed and the boat dropped approximately 20 metres to the sea, turning upside down as it entered the water.
Eight deck and technical crew members were on board no.9 life boat at the time of the accident, some of whom were carrying out familiarisation training rather than being the assigned boat crew
One crew member was thrown from the boat as it entered the water, and two crew members managed to escape from the upturned boat by their own efforts.
The remaining five crew members were subsequently declared deceased at the scene.
The investigation is still open and the full safety investigation report will be made publicly available on completion.
Meanwhile, says the MSIU all owners and masters should be on the alert for the potential hazards related to fall wire failure and:
  • Ensure that the falls are continuously well lubricated with an approved type of grease, particularly those areas that are difficult to inspect, where the falls pass through and around sheaves.
  • Inspect regularly, frequently and thoroughly all visible parts of wire falls in order to detect general deterioration and deformation, including corrosion, abrasion, and mechanical damage.
  • Review the contents of MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1 (Measures to Prevent Accidents with Lifeboats) and act accordingly.

See Also:

Five Die In Thomson Majesty Lifeboat Drill

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