MSC 82 - Preliminary report on lifeboats and lifeboat drills

During the last ten days INTERTANKO has been attending the 82nd session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 82), held in Istanbul while the IMO's London headquarters are closed for refurbishment. The meeting has not yet been concluded at the time of publication of this newsletter, but we are pleased to provide our members with a preliminary report of the highlights of this session. A final confirmed report of the outcome will be published in the next issue of the INTERTANKO Weekly NEWS.




An extensive debate regarding which parts of MSC.1/Circ.1206 (Lifeboat Maintenance/Service and Certification) should or should not become mandatory took place, in which the Committee, after having heard the concerns of the industry as well as those of the flag states, decided not to make the circular mandatory at this session but to refer it to the Design & Equipment (DE) Sub-committee for further consideration and advice.


INTERTANKO communicated to the Committee in its submission MSC 82/10/11 the various difficulties experienced by our members so far in this matter. It will accordingly continue to work on this important issue at the next session of the DE Sub-committee, which will take place in London, March 2007.


INTERTANKO is pleased with the outcome, as one of the difficulties our members have encountered is that some flag states have treated the circular as mandatory in the SOLAS Convention, which clearly is not the case. However, it is of our understanding that some flag states will continue to keep the circular mandatory in their national legislations.


Lifeboat drills


The Committee, after consideration of a proposal by Norway to clarify SOLAS Chapter III, regulation, decided to amend and adopt the SOLAS text so that it now reads as follows:


"In the case of a lifeboat arranged for free-fall launching, at least once every three months during an abandon ship drill the crew shall board the lifeboat, properly secure themselves in their seats and commence launch procedures up to but not including the actual release of the lifeboat (i.e., the release hook shall not be released).

The lifeboat shall then either be free-fall launched with only the required operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by means of the secondary means of launching with or without the operating crew on board. In both cases the lifeboat shall thereafter be manoeuvred in the water by the operating crew.

At intervals of not more than six months, the lifeboat shall either be launched by free-fall with only the operating crew on board, or simulated launching shall be carried out in accordance with guidelines developed by the Organization."


As the text now reads, crews on vessels that are equipped with equipment for simulated launch are not required to carry out real free-fall launches. If such equipment is not available onboard, the lifeboat operating crew must carry out the free-fall launch at intervals not exceeding six months.


Further information on the subject will follow in the next week's Weekly NEWS.


Contact: Fredrik Larsson