1. The Maritime Administration of Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) has issued Safety Advisory No. 09-21 informing that there have been multiple instances of defective or improperly maintained immersion suits on RMI-flagged vessels.
2. One of these instances resulted in a preventable United States (US) port State control detention, where 29 of 32 immersion suits were unserviceable due to unsealed seams. These suits were only five years old.
3. In another instance, the damage to the zipper closures on multiple immersion suits was apparently the direct result of the crew’s efforts to maintain them. Their application of petroleum jelly was intended to lubricate the zipper closures. Instead, it appears that the product caused the material to breakdown and resulted in the inability to use the zippers.
4. In order to prevent future instances of defective or improperly maintained immersion suits, Owners, Operators and Masters are advised as follows;
a. Ensure all immersion suits (including extras, if aboard) are properly fitting, well-maintained and ready for use in an emergency.
b. Regularly inspect all immersion suits in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, including use of the correct zipper lubricant.
c. The periodic immersion suit inspection and testing is included in the vessels Safety Management System.
d. Any necessary repairs should be done by an approved service provider following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
5. Administration has advised that “Spot checking” and not inspecting all immersions suits thoroughly is not acceptable and requires that all immersion suits to be inspected during annual surveys.
6. Flag State inspectors will also be inspecting all immersion suits during the annual safety inspections.
7. Ship owners/ operators and masters are advised to be guided by above and ensure compliance.
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.