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Lack of lifeboat maintenance leads to devastating accidents

Lifeboats have been a crucial part for large vessels for over a century. If they weren’t present during the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the outcome would have been even more devastating than it already was. These days, Louisiana requires nearly every large commercial, transportation and military ship to have lifeboats or life rafts that allow for emergency evacuations.

Even though training for emergencies has gotten significantly better since the 1900s, there are still a few problems that arise in the process. While lifeboats were created to save lives, poor training or communication failures have led to several devastating injuries or deaths over the years.

Training troubles

In July 2016, four crew members of the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship fell into the water during the ship’s weekly lifeboat safety drill. Reports say that the lifeboat’s support collapsed and left the shipboard hanging from one wire. The ship’s medical staff took three to the hospital after treating their injuries while one unfortunate worker died in the process.

The Maritime Executive took this tragedy as an opportunity to warn maritime workers about the dangerously high accident rate ship members have with lifeboats. Some of the common factors that lead to these incidents includes:

  • Improper maintenance on the on-load release mechanism
  • Failure to communicate to other workers
  • Lack of training with the equipment
  • Improper installation of the lifeboats
  • Reckless actions with the vessel and equipment

Recent issues and solutions

There appears to be little to no signs of these malfunctions or reckless practices slowing down anytime soon. Earlier this month, two engineers in Virginia suffered from broken bones and lacerations after the lifeboat they were working on released from the davit. The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) advises ship owners to update their on-load release systems and include nylon straps parallel to the release hook called Fall Preventer Devices (FPD).

Unfortunately, many vessel owners and workers aren’t aware of the frequent problems surrounding lifeboat maintenance. The more these issues go unnoticed, the more maritime workers will suffer the consequences. If you or a loved one receive a devastating injury while working on the ship, a maritime accident attorney can help you find a way to help you financially recover from the damages.

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