The MAIB has issued an accident investigation report into the lifeboat davit failure aboard RRS Sir David Attenborough. On the 4 March 2021, the port lifeboat from RRS Sir David Attenborough fell into the water while the crew were practising lifeboat drills. The investigation found that a critical interlock device on the lifeboat davits had heavily corroded due to lack of maintenance. The interlock failed to operate correctly and subsequently caused the lifeboat to fall from the davit and into the sea with three crew on board. It also found that the installation of the lifeboat davits was not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and did not meet international regulations.
Safety issues identified:
– the safety equipment survey had failed to identify that the davit installation was not compliant with SOLAS;
– the ship’s crew had not been trained in the operation of the davit and were unfamiliar with the correct operating procedure;
– the ship’s operator had suspended maintenance of critical equipment.
Extracted from the report:
In May 2016, the 96th session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adopted amendments to SOLAS Regulations III/3 and III/20 that made annual and 5-yearly inspections mandatory for all ships’ lifeboats and davit systems from 1 January 2020. It was mandated that the inspections must be carried out by either the manufacturer or its authorised agent.
On 31 January 2021, a VLSE service engineer completed the statutory lifeboat and davit system inspections on board RRS Sir David Attenborough. The service schedule that the service engineer used did not highlight that the interlock cylinder
required specific maintenance or that its material condition was critical to the launching sequence of the lifeboat. The service engineer did not record whether ship’s staff had undertaken regular routine maintenance of the davit system.
The service engineer reported that the davit and lifeboat were in a satisfactory condition with no defects found. The interlock cylinder piston rod was not inspected, and no comment was made on its condition.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is recommended (2023/108) to review its processes for delegating Safety Equipment Surveys to Recognised Organisations and ensure that feedback mechanisms are in place to provide the necessary assurance that the surveys have been carried out effectively and in compliance with SOLAS regulations.
A second recommendation (2023/109) has been made to the MCA to review its policy for delegation to consider whether it is appropriate to delegate initial safety equipment surveys for newbuild vessels or those joining the UK register.
If you’d like to read the full report it can be downloaded here: RRS Sir David Attenborough Report