News 09 Mar, 2010

Port State Control - News

The Club has recently received information from several port state control authorities regarding a number of safety and inspection issues. Members are advised to note the details and take action as appropriate.

Sweden - Defective Lifebuoy

The Swedish Transport Agency has drawn attention to a lifebuoy which sank when lowered over the side. It was found to contain a large quantity of water. The cause of the ingress was reported to be an unplugged aperture located underneath one of the reflector strips. The lifebuoy was manufactured by Veleria San Giorgio, Italy and was part of a batch stamped with the number 0474. Members who operate vessels equipped with such lifebuoys are advised to check them carefully for similar defects and, in the event of any concerns, to contact the manufacturer

Sweden – Fast Rescue Boat: Release Gear Incident

The Swedish Transport Agency has published details of an incident involving the release gear of a Schat-Harding fast rescue boat.

After removing the boat lashings during an emergency drill, the supervising officer pulled the handle (“A”) to prepare the release mechanism in the usual manner. However, this resulted in the immediate release of the boat which fell into the sea from a height of 14 metres.

The release gear was fitted with an interlock lever linked to the hydrostatic release mechanism (“D”). A spring attached to the lever was designed to ensure that the mechanism returned to the locked position automatically. However, the lever was later found to have stuck in the unlocked position in spite of the return spring, causing the lifeboat to disengage.

Vessels fitted with the same or similar release gear should always check that the interlock lever has returned to the locked position after use, and again prior to releasing the lashings before the boat is next launched. In the event of any doubts, the manufacturer should be contacted for advice.

USA – Most Common Deficiencies

The US Coast Guard has published details of the ten most common deficiencies found during shipboard inspections.

Cargo vessels and offshore supply craft share a number of items including oily water separators, watertight doors and hull plating. The oily water separator issue relates to inadequate documentation regarding the servicing and testing of this device, and Safety Management Systems which fail to incorporate such details. The findings regarding watertight doors include hinges in need of lubrication, damaged seals, inadequate signage and warped doors. Similarly it has not been uncommon to find older cargo vessels and offshore supply craft with hull plating defects, generally holes, cracks and wasted structural members and, in the case of cargo vessels only, defective deck and ballast tank steelwork, cracked hatch corner brackets and fractured winch foundations.

Other “top ten” deficiencies aboard cargo vessels include wasted fire mains, generator leakages (oil, water, exhaust gas), inability to demonstrate the operation of a generator, temporary or unsatisfactory electrical wiring, missing light guards, defective lifeboat davits and fixed CO2 systems with less than a 90% charge or experiencing a pressure drop of more than 150 psi over a two minute period when tested to 1,000 psi.

For offshore supply craft the additional items include EPIRBs with malfunctioning hydrostatic releases, unregistered EPIRBs, defective navigation lights, fire safety plans in need of revision, electrical junction boxes without covers, general alarm bells lacking signage, unguarded machinery, missing battery operated emergency lamps and, with reference to the latter, batteries in poor condition.

Principal deficiencies aboard tugs include emergency fuel shut-off valves with no instructions posted nearby, defective navigation lights, faulty fire detection control panels, lifebuoys marked incorrectly or lacking the correct symbols, inoperable general alarms, inability to start fixed fire pumps remotely, portable fire pumps stowed inside the machinery space, incomplete Vessel Response Plans, missing machinery guards, temporary wiring and exposed electrical connections.

Members may wish to provide their masters with the US Coast Guard’s Foreign Freight Vessel Examination Book or Foreign Tank Vessel Examination Book for dry cargo ships and tankers respectively. Although these documents were created to provide US Coast Guard personnel with a source of reference during port state control inspections, vessels scheduled to call at US ports may find it useful to carry out the same checks prior to arrival to ensure that everything is in order beforehand.

Australia – Focused Inspection Campaign: Container Lashing Equipment

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has commenced a Focused Inspection Campaign (FIC) directed towards the condition of fixed and portable container securing equipment including twist locks, lashing bars, wires, lashing anchors and securing points. The FIC will continue until 30 April 2010 and may be carried out either as part of a normal port or flag state inspection or at random. For further details please see AMSA Marine Notice 2/2010.