Statutory alert: Implementation of a new procedure relating to the simulated launching of free-fall lifeboats during drills, as required by SOLAS regulation III/126.96.36.199.
Applicability: All shipowners and operators
The IMO has introduced new guidelines (MSC.1/Circ.1578) relating to safety during abandon ship drills using lifeboats, as required by SOLAS reg. III/19.4. This circular revokes Annex 2 to MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev1.
The new guidelines emphasise that simulated launching carried out during drills is a means of training the crew in the free-fall release procedure of free-fall lifeboats and is to be achieved without the physical activation of the lifeboat’s release mechanism.
The simulated launching procedure of free-fall lifeboats under MSC.1/Circ.1578 is an exercise to familiarise the crew with boarding, taking their designated seats correctly, and using a safety belt, as well as being instructed on how to act during launching into the sea.
Under the supervision of the responsible person, participating crew are to board the lifeboat and fasten their seat belts. They should then disembark the lifeboat and ensure that the lifeboat is returned to its normal stowed condition i.e. removing any restraining and/or recovery devices used only for the simulated launch procedure.
Any testing of free-fall lifeboat release systems, as required by SOLAS reg. III/20.11.2, should be undertaken separately from the simulated launching drills and must not be carried out during the drill. This testing should be done in accordance with Annex 1 to MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev1.