Applicability: shipowners, ship operators, ship managers, ship masters, ship builders, manufacturers and agents.
Subsequent to Class News 09/2019, this is a reminder that SOLAS Regulation III/20.7.2 requires all immersion suits to be carefully examined during monthly inspections of lifesaving appliances. The manufacturers’ instructions for maintenance should also be followed, including the use of the correct zipper lubricant when specified.
This reminder follows a safety notice issued by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) highlighting further instances of unserviceable immersion suits being found during inspections.
RMI’s Marine Safety Advisory No.09-21 reports two cases in which Port State and flag State inspections found:
- The zipper sealant (glue) failed after pulling the zipper all the way up and then down, when the suits were only five years old.
- In the first case, 29 out of 32 immersion suits manufactured by Dongtai City Jianghai Lifesaving & Firefighting Equipment Limited Company were not fit for use.
- In the second case, 38 out of 39 suits manufactured by DongTai City Dong Fang Marine Fitting Co. Ltd were not fit for use.
What should you do now?
The monthly inspections required by SOLAS should take into consideration the manufacturers’ recommendations. In addition, many flag Administrations require:
- Monthly inspections to be carried out in accordance with MSC/Circ.1047, Guidelines for the monthly shipboard inspection of immersion suits and anti-exposure suits by ships’ crew.
- Periodic testing in accordance with MSC/Circ.1114 Guidelines for periodic testing of immersion suit and anti-exposure suit seams and closures.
If immersion suits are found to be defective, they should be replaced. For Type Approved products, onboard repair should only be attempted if suitable documented repair procedures, proposed by the manufacturer, and approved in line with the Type Approval process, are available.