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Advice requested regarding poor safety practices

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  • Advice requested regarding poor safety practices

    Dear all,

    I have recently joined a cruise line that shall remain nameless and during my first couple of weeks on-board had noticed that professional standards were, perhaps, slightly lower than I was used to.

    Since then I began my first set of lifeboat inspections and I noticed that the hook override pin on one of the lifeboats (part of the hook release mechanism by the lifeboat coxswain?s position) was out of its hole, therefore, the hooks could potentially be released accidentally as one of the main safety features preventing inadvertent release was now missing. This was particularly troubling as the hooks were serviced only a couple of weeks ago.

    I raised it, of course, and no one seemed particularly bothered (I felt it was pretty serious especially considering how little time had elapsed since the servicing) and the following day another deck officer said that he had ?fixed? it. By this he meant that he had ripped the perspex off the hook mechanism and slid the pin in. Now not only is the perspex missing but the pin still slides out very easily.

    All of this has got me very concerned and the laid back attitude goes against everything I have been taught over the years.

    I would welcome input from the more experienced heads amongst us about what to do. What is the actual guidance about sailing around with major safety features of lifeboat hook release mechanisms missing? Is this a condition a condition of class? I have considered raising it anonymously with the flag stage as the attitude I have been faced with since raising the issue is, I feel, part of reason that crew still die in lifeboats every year.

    Many thanks in advance.

    PS I tried to post pictures to help describe what I found but my rubbish internet connection wouldn't let me! l hope the description sufficed.

  • #2
    Give it time, yeah it sounds bad, but one issue does not make a lacking safety culture. Remember you're part of a team and should be working together to keep your crew and pax safe. If your concerns continue, and are still knocked back then yeah raise it further. Personally I'd keep it in house for as long as possible unless you plan on leaving the company. Regardless of policy you won't have a fun time onboard once you start whistling at Flag or Unions
    Superyacht OOW
    SSTG Cadet 2015-2017
    Ex Royal Navy Navigator.


    • #3
      Snowy, many thanks for your response but you miss my point somewhat.

      It doesn't SOUND bad, it IS bad and as I've alluded to it isn't ONE issue. I have never seen lifeboat releases mechanisms (or certainly the safety features) fiddled with by ship's staff, only ever by a certified contractor. This company has had two lifeboat release incidents (one of which was fatal) in the last three years. My request for advice wasn't about what action I should take, it was regarding whether or not this is legal; to remove the perspex screen (a major safety feature to prevent accidental release of the lifeboat hooks) which is now missing and this pin, the only bit of metal that is preventing the hook release handle being activated with the boat out of the water, slides in and out of its hole far too easily.

      If you are not familiar with lifeboat release mechanisms then, without pictures, it may be difficult to know exactly what I mean. I have been looking after lifeboats for the best part of a decade but I am not certain if the tampering of the hook mechanisms by ship's staff is legal or if it makes it a condition of class.

      I am also not sure what teamwork has to do with anything and the poor soul who, through ignorance, releases the hooks above the waterline won't be thinking about a lack of teamwork as they plummet towards the water. This amongst other things I have seen make me genuinely concerned and whilst I am a major advocate of the team ethos, when shipmates' lives are put at risk, a fear of not being a team player has to take a back seat.


      • #4
        This sounds increadibly dodgy,

        IMO MSC Circular 1206
        "Qualification levels

        11) Weekly and monthly inspections, and routine maintenance as defined by the manufacturer,
        should be conducted under the direct supervision of a senior ship?s officer in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

        12) All other inspections, servicing and repair should be conducted by the manufacturer?s representative or a person appropriately trained and certified by the manufacturer for the work to be done."


        • #5
          There's two problems here;
          -The first is the maintenance of the boat. This depends on the flag of the vessel and whether that flag state has made the changes to SOLAS Ch III laid out in MSC/ Circ.1093 & 1206 mandatory. If the flag state HAS made the changes mandatory, then the crew (and ship, and company) are in breach of the requirements regarding the servicing of lifeboats and other LSA. For info on whether the flag state has made the changes mandatory, see
          -The second is whether the boats current condition means it's certification is void (I'd argue it does). This means that the LSA is not as required by the ships safety certificate... Which is a bigger problem and (if the PSC inspector is having a bad day) could result in the ship being bolted to the dock until it's rectified. This could also have ramifications for the vessels insurance, flag state and state of class.

          If you don't want to escalate things yourself, you could always try sending an anonymous report to MARS or similar? They're usually pretty good at getting things sorted. If that doesn't work, then there's always class or PSC. I know it seems drastic, but I'd rather kick up a fuss and potentially save a life, than do nothing and have to explain how someone died in a lifeboat I was responsible for maintaining.

          Never "wait and see" when it comes to safety. If there's a problem - as is pretty clear - two accidents and people are still going "meh" is a strong indicator of a poor safety culture - fix it.
          Pointy bit is the front, blunt bit is the back... Simples!

          Will work for money/sea time.


          • #6
            The main question here should be why was the pin out? Did it fall out on its own, or was it removed by a crew member? If it fell out on its own then it needs to be replaced, ships crew can do it as long as it's simply a case of putting it back in. If it has fallen out due to a design flaw or damage then an authorised service company should attend to rectify the fault.

            If the glass was broken to remove the pin, there is no issue with ships crew restoring the pin and replacing the glass.


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