Following three incident investigations, Transport Malta has issued a safety notice to draw attention to the dangers of sheathed steel wires onboard ships. Their concern surrounds the restricted access to the wire rope for a thorough inspection and the possibility that corrosion might exist.
It is recommended that all concerned must check the condition of all lashings, lifting slings/strops and other loose gear as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions for the use, size and construction of the wire. This advice is in addition to a recent warning by Tokyo MoU, highlighting the dangers of sheathed steel wires on board ships.
The Transport Malta notice also highlights that all Flexible Steel Wire Ropes (FSWR) and Extra Flexible Steel Wire Ropes (EFSWR) should conform to the design requirements recognised by a relevant International Standard.
Companies should consider means to ensure that the inspection of lifting slings or the FPD encased in plastic sheathing and the associated risks due to sheathing, are addressed in the Company’s Safety Management System (SMS). All the relevant lifting equipment and loose gear should be thoroughly examined, operational tested, repaired and overhauled during the Annual Inspection in accordance with the requirements of the IMO adopted Resolution MSC.402(96).
Wire failure has been the critical factor these accidents says Transport Malta. This highlights the importance of:
– Ships’ crews to follow established maintenance procedures, being observant during all maintenance tasks and being vigilant at all times.
– Assessing the current maintenance procedures to ensure their continued effectiveness.
– Effective crew familiarization and training, to enhance the competency of the crew while conducting test procedures and training drills.
– That ferrules should be compressed at an adequate pressure in order to securely fix the strands without the risk of spreading and that the wires inside the ferrule have to remain without sheathing.
– Specific inspections concentrated on signs of deterioration and damage.
– Time intervals between subsequent inspections may be reduced by the competent person depending on the condition of the FSWR / EFSWR.
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