The IMO has recently adopted an amendment for free-fall lifeboats to SOLAS regulation III/220.127.116.11. under resolution MSC.325(90) which allows the simulated launching instead of normal free-fall launch during testing.
For periodic servicing of free-fall lifeboat release systems it is required that lifeboats should be tested regularly to ensure they operate when needed and that crews know how to operate them. For testing of free-fall lifeboats, a physical launch might not always be appropriate, e.g. due to berthing position or obstacles behind the vessel. The amendment, which will enter into force on January 1st, 2014, permits operational testing of free-fall lifeboats to be performed either by free-fall launch, or by a simulated launch in accordance with the appendix in MSC.1/Circ.1206/Rev.1 where it is clearly stated what steps should be made.
Hatecke has developed a device which establishes a firm connection between the aft of the lifeboat and the davit system (or ramp) and thus allowing a safe simulated launching procedure for crew and equipment.
Almost all existing Hatecke free-fall boats and ramps can be modified with the system.
The advantage of this simulated launching device is that no slack exists and thus no dynamic forces enter into the system, making it even safer than before.
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