505 - 01/07 - Lifeboat release gear mechanism - Worldwide

Loss Prevention Bulletin 489 (issued September 2006) detailed a lifeboat drill incident that unfortunately resulted in the death of one of the crew members on board. After the incident the lifeboat was brought to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) Engineering Branch laboratory for examination. The davit launch gravity type enclosed lifeboat was found to be fitted with a SRS-37 type release gear mechanism manufactured in 2001 by Shigi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

The examination has revealed that although the release handle was secured, i.e. the safety pin inserted, the release gear mechanisms were not fully reset. As a result, the hooks were not locked in place prior to the recovery of the lifeboat. The design of the SRS-37 type release gear mechanism made it such that it is possible to secure the release handle in the closed position without the hook being properly reset, hence giving the crew members a false sense of security.

The SRS-37 type release mechanism has been out of production for many years and an improved design has been produced since. However, according to the manufacturer, approximately 500 lifeboats with this type of release gear mechanism were fitted on ships operating worldwide.

Transport Canada are making recommendations to Port State Control Authorities that inspections should be undertaken on all ships equipped with the SRS-37 type release gear mechanisms and that the ability of the ship’s crew to safely operate the release mechanism be verified accordingly.

Source of information: 

Jana N. Byron 

Thomas Miller (Americas) Inc.

New Jersey, USA

Tel: +1 201-557-7433

Email:  jana.byron@thomasmiller.com

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