Lifeboat Hook Concerns

What are they? This was started on linkedin and thought you guys may want to chime in.

Lifeboat hooks can be “lethal” and their design is out of date and unsuitable to meet modern demands, according to serving seafarers whose views have been gathered by InterManager.

Following a series of incidents and fatalities involving lifeboat hooks, InterManager, the international trade association for the ship management industry, has gathered comments from seafarers of various ranks in an online discussion forum.

Crew members responded by pointing out that they believed the hook designs have not kept pace with developments in the global shipping industry. “Nothing really has changed for the last five millenniums,” said one Chief Engineer with 35 years’service on chemical carriers. “These hooks are lethal,” he said. A second Chief Engineer questioned: “Why are we still using very old designs and materials?” and a Master commented “I don’t trust hooks and their arrangements.”

Adding to the debate, a Captain questioned training regimes, saying: “Because almost every vessel has lifeboats of a different design it is very often [a] steep learning curve for all involved.” While another likened his onboard training to “Russian roulette”.

Respondents included experienced Masters, Captains, Chief Engineers and Chief Officers who had served on a variety of vessels including LNG, chemical carriers, tankers and container ships.

InterManager Secretary General, Captain Kuba Szymanski, said: “There is a great depth of feeling in the industry on the subject of lifeboats and their safe operation. They are meant to save lives not to endanger them further. I am pleased InterManager has been able to facilitate this debate”

Same subject?: Which group on Linkdin?

hooks these days are fine…it’s the stoopid fool crew who have to fuck with the gear everytime they get in a boat!

Truth. You know that bar that says “DO NOT LIFT UNTIL AT WATER’S SURFACE” ??? WELL DON’T FRIGGIN’ LIFT IT. We can’t keep making technological advances as safeguards against human stupidity or human stupidity will continue to breed. Let darwinism run its course!

Stoopid (stupid?) fool crew? Human stupidity? I guess articles from the following links prove YOUR point. I guess there is a reason that the IMO has been involved with this for a few years now. I guess there is a reason that in some instances the fault is pointed directly at the equipment and not the operator. In the first thread, scroll to Jan 28 for the story. In the Apr 4 article, “the good folks at gCaptain” are referenced, so I would not be under the impression that this a disreputable group. The other 2 references can speak for themselves. Yes, the dates are from 2011, but no action til 2014 and no forced implementation of any findings until 2019. I did a very simple google search to find this small bit of info.
And, I guess there is a reason why APL REQUIRES FPDs while working on or in the boats, while it is in its cradle or being lowered to the water. In the boats I was involved with (obviously APL, on their C-11s), there is no lever to lift. Unlike the open boats I was accustomed to in the '90s where you had to very physically lift the releasing bar a full 180 degrees athwartships, there is now only a simple pull down to release lever. I didn’t exactly trust the damn things, especially after having looked them over and having been involved a couple of times in releasing the boats for a short spin. And might I imply that I am hardly stoopid and I know where to put my d*ck skinners, thanks to evolution.

Yes, I know that there are failures and lives are lost but they have goddamned hooks now that don’t release until there in hydrostatic pressure present or unless some stoopid fool pulls out the overriding pin and oops another boat in the water. Now, if you want to talk about limit switches, falls and winches and how a boat being raised can actually end up falling then I am the man to talk to. Second, why are men in a boat without the safety pennants on anyway? Are we talking about boats falling out of the davits or boats crashing and burning during test lowing to the water? If men are in a boat, the releasing hooks can be locked with a safety that will prevent them opening under any failure or tomfoolery. Lower to water, take out safety pins, release hooks, that simple.

I hold that boats fall more often due to human stoopidity than to simple gear going cockeyed all by itself and whole IMO issue is to make the hooks idiot proof!

I was just waiting for this topic to come up here. What a load. Hit the nail on the nail with “IMO…make the hooks idiot proof”. Have you ever seen that strategy work out? Trying to replace seamanship with idiot proof devices is poor protection for even the idiots amongst us. They just rise (lower?) to the occasion and find new mind numbing ways to blow it. I suppose there a certain “Darwin award” logic which might be viewed as a small consolation. However, they often take innocent bystanders with them.

It does work out for the IMO employees making these regulations and for the life boat manufacturers who get to now sell you a all new hooks for your boats. Our company has decided to be proactive and will fit them early at unbelievable cost.

The idea of another positive locking device to be removed (fore and aft) before you can actually disconnect from the falls and go is really a bit too much don’t you think?

Most of the horror videos circulating that I’ve seen involve parting wires or other rigging item failures because some jamoke decided to haul the boat in and whadda ya know she keeps coming up, limit switches fail, links part, wires part, whatever and boat falls with people in it. Did they maintain the limit switches? Did they test them with the boat well away from them? Did they have a guy with his finger on the e-stop (tested first ofcourse)? Is it really that hard to stop early and use the hand crank to bring to final position? Was it really necessary to have four guys in the boat while doing this? How will locking the hook prevent this sort of failure?

While they are worried about merchant seaman’s safety they might consider just what they are doing to the process of launching a lifeboat. Should it come to it on a cold, dark night will adding more steps, possibly dangerous steps depending on the type of lock being fitted (open hatch reach out pull pin or undo additional tether) make it easier to launch the boat or have people in a tense situation scratching their heads and tripping over each other to pull that, push this, hope the hydrostatic interlock works.

How long from implementation before we hear the first story that some ship never pulled the pin out and cleaned / lubed it for 10 years but rode the boat safely up and down all that time at drills only to find out the night they needed to launch the boat for real, the pin wouldn’t come out and the boat was drug down by the ship?

What a crock.