Technical Circular No: 72/2020

Subject: Freefall Lifeboat Sling Arrangements

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  1. The Marshall Islands Administration vide Marine Safety Advisory No. 19-20 has informed regarding an incident of failure of a freefall lifeboat sling during lowering of the lifeboat to the water. The wire failed at a crimp while under load, causing the lifeboat to fall uncontrolled in to the water. 

  2. The incident highlights the need to maintain vigilance when inspecting and utilizing slings for the secondary means of launching and recovery of freefall life boats.

  3. Based on the review of other incident involving the failure of slings used to launch and recover freefall life boats, following similarities have been identified;

    1. Inadequate in-service inspection of slings by ship’s crew;

    2. Inadequate assessment of risks prior to conducting freefall lifeboat drills;

    3. Inadequate initial inspection of slings prior to being put into service;

    4. Inadequate assessment and selection of manufacturers and suppliers of slings; and

    5. Use of plastic encased wire.

  4. Plastic casing of wire slings inhibits the proper inspection of slings and can conceal defects in the underlying wire rope. Further it prevent routine maintenance and can result in the lifeboat plunging into the water with/without crew inside.

  5. In view of above, owners and operators are encouraged to assess whether wire slings with plastic casings should be used and to review and revise the relevant procedures in their Safety Management and Preventive Maintenance Systems as necessary.

  6. Owners/Operators and masters are advised to take note of above and consider the use of slings without a plastic sheath or an alternative method of encasing the sheath which allows for removal for inspection.



This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.

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