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Lifeboat lifting hooks: Become part of the conversation

The Professional Mariner Web Bulletin recently published an article with the title: TSB: Lifeboat accident caused by improperly reset release hook. The text of the article is factual, but the subtext is misleading.

The title leads us to believe that this is breaking news, but it’s not, the accident happened three years ago. This is not breaking news, its old news. There is nothing for us to learn here because this hook and hooks like it no longer exist. Due to new lifeboat hook regulations IMO MSC. 1392 the hook failure as described in this article will never happen again. Lifeboat rehooking deadline was 1st of July 2019 for lifeboat with on-load release hooks.

Also, misleading in this article is the statement that the lifeboat involved in the accident had replaced the lifeboat originally fitted on the vessel. Although this is a true statement the replacement lifeboat was not a new lifeboat, it was an old lifeboat with old complicated hooks.

Another peculiar reference was made to use of the existing lifting end links that fit into the apex of the hook. Although the article’s statement was factual it makes it look like had the davit been fitted with the proper lifting end links the lock-position indicator would not have been obscured. The size or diameter of the lifting end-link was instrumental in this accident due to the dynamics of the shift of force closer to the axis of hook but would not have made a difference in obscuring the lock-position indicator.

In the last sentence of this article we have the safety advisory: the TSB issued letters to the parties concerned regarding the model of this release hook. This advice was good three years ago, but this model of hook no longer exists.

I recommend to all mariners who sail on ships with motor lifeboats to become part of the conversation relating to safety. New generation lifeboat lifting hooks are amazing and becoming aware of how to use them properly will increase your confidence and make your ship a safer place to work.

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