The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has published a Marine Safety Advisory notice. In it RMI stresses the importance of properly inspecting and maintaining all immersion suits, following a number of recent cases of defective equipment found onboard RMI flagged vessels.
Since 2019, when RMI shared a marine safety advisory focusing on the importance of following the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining immersion suits, there have been multiple additional instances of defective or improperly maintained suits on RMI-flagged vessels, one of which resulted in a PSC detention by the US Coast Guard. In that case, “29 of 32 immersion suits were unserviceable due to unsealed seams,” and these suits were only five years old.
On a second occasion during a flag State inspection, an inspector found 38 out of 39 immersion suits not fit for use. In this case, the suits were also only five years old. In addition to these cases, the Administrator said it continues to find the suits in unserviceable condition during Quality Control Boardings and during Annual Safety Inspections.
In order to prevent future instances of defective or improperly maintained suits, owners, operators, Masters, officers, and crew members must regularly inspect all suits in accordance with their safety management system, RMI has said.
They are also recommended to thoroughly inspect all suits prior to calling US ports in accordance with the Critical Items Checklist (MSD 340).
ROs acting on behalf of the Administrator should inspect all immersion suits during annual surveys. Flag State inspectors will also be inspecting all suits during the annual safety inspections.
It has become clear that “spot checking” and not inspecting all suits thoroughly is not acceptable and could put a seafarer’s life in jeopardy in the event of an emergency, RMI has said.
Read the Marine Safety Notice: RMI Immersion Suits Found Unserviceable
Read another RMI related article: Guidance on RMI flagged yacht recreational fire appliances issued