The Swedish Club has highlighted an incident in its July safety bulletin about the bizarre case of a vessel that conducted a rescue boat drill resulting in an incident as the company had no specific instructions in the training manual, SMS, PMS as to how the rescue boat should be launched.
The vessel concerned was in port and the Master wanted to conduct a rescue boat drill as none had been completed since the vessel was delivered a month earlier. According to the report, the weather was favourable and the harbour authority had given the vessel clearance to launch and maneuver the rescue boat in the harbour.
Those involved in conducting the drill were the chief officer, bosun, oiler and third engineer. The chief officer was in charge of organising the drill. He had joined the vessel in the shipyard about two months before delivery. During that time he had watched the shipyard complete a rescue boat drill but had not been involved himself.
Prior to beginning the drill, the chief officer had a short briefing with all available crew and the Master. After the briefing the crew who were assigned to the rescue boat embarked. The Master informed the rescue boat crew that the safety pin should be removed before the rescue boat was waterborne.
The Swedish Club notes that the Master did not state at what precise height the pin should be removed, but assumed the crew would remove it just before the boat was waterborne.
The chief officer pulled the slewing wire until the boat was positioned so it could be lowered. He then pulled the lowering wire until the boat was three metres aove the surface, where he removed the safety pin. At the same time the slewing wire, which was hanging free, got caught in the release lever for the hook and caused the boat to drop into the water.
The boat was quickly retrieved and the injured crew received medical attention, although the four crew members were not severely injured. Two crew members had to be admitted to hospital.
After the incident, a port state inspector boarded the vessel to investigate the incident, raised a couple of deficiencies and was concerned that the safety pin had been removed too early.
It is stated that the company had no specific instructions in the training manual, SMS, PMS or in any other manual on how the rescue boat should be launched.
The Swedish Club has highlighted the following:
1) It is imperative to ensure that no wires or ropes get caught in any equipment when the rescue boat is being lowered. The company should ensure that the crew are aware of this risk and implement procedures to prevent this.
2) Also, it is crucial that all officers know how to launch and manoeuvre the rescue boat and not just the designated officer for an emergency. In this case the designated officer lacked proper knowledge. The company should ensure that all officers know how to launch the rescue boat.
It also stated that:
– Operating instructions for the rescue boat on load release hook and safety locking pin, not included in SOLAS training manual.
– Operating instructions for control/handling of remote-control wires for slewing of davit and lowering of rescue boat, not included in SOLAS training manual.
– Flag state and Class should have been informed about incident, which they were not.
– Rescue boat launching instructions and rescue boat training should be reviewed.
Read another article about the Swedish Club: The Swedish Club shares lessons learned about an oil spill incident while bunkering