This seems to be a hot topic at the moment, mainly due to the fact that the manufacturers of lifeboats are attempting to force throught changes to SOLAS, where only their engineers will be ‘authorised’ to work on the equipment. Both Bob Coutties site and a new site www.msc1206.com, have a lot to say about this matter and I do too. It seems to us that the manufacturers may be able to ‘hold us to ransom’ when we need works completing on our vessels LSA and any leverage we currently have over them IE: to use 3rd party contractors, will be lost. We are certain the costs for such services will certainly skyrocket if this amendment is accepted and therefore, we are heavily lobbying our flag in order to make our views known.
We are committed to opposing this new measure as we have every confidence in the service we currently receive from independent companies - all of which will be eliminated by the manufacturers - after all, which manufacturer is going to approve any of their competitiors!? Sure, there are poor service companies and there are excellent service companies, (who give an even better service than the manufacturer themselves) and we are therefore urging our flag to take the obvious step of approving those companies that are capable of doing the job. Once they have done this, the OEMs can do whatever they want, we shall be using our flag approved contractors!
What do you think?
We got some great lifeboat guys in the gulf! Nick Hardaway, contractor for norsafe, comes to mind as tops. Overseas is another story, when I worked in India we begged a contractor to write a deficiency in his report (the company refused to fix the problem without his saying we needed it fixed) but he just shook his head and said "your company is too good a client for me to do that). But come to think of it ABS in India was no better so I doubt the proposal will do any good! Keep up the fight!
We know of and use, a superb contractor for the maintenance of our 140+ vessel fleet. Survival Craft Inspectorate Ltd of the UK are the tops for us. (By the way, check ot there repacement release gear system, Safelaunch, which we are extensively using). They have never let us down, are always able to accommodate our requests and frankly, we would never use anyone else. The possibility of us using the manufacturers is not somethig we would wish to contemplate and we are heavily involved in talks with our flag reps to ensure that this will not happen. I’ve just visited the msc1206.com site and its great. It needs our support and will get it. We say keep up the fight too and hope that others will join with us and the rest of the worlds fleet too.
It would seem that the Manufactureres are truly trying to mislead the maritime community in order to make " unfair monietary" , which in itself would indicate that they do not give a damn about the safety of the ship's staff but are in it only for one reason which is quite obvious. If the manufacturers were so inclined and so dedicated to their profession, they would surely have by now designed a new and safer release mechanisim , but as they have been handed over on a silver platter a new direction of making profits and a new avenue to exploit this situation one would feel that their interest in actually making a better system that works would be at an all time low.
Their attitude and articles that they have been pushing in all kinds of media and maritime related publications speaks volumes of their motives - and these surely do not lie with actually serving the industry but just exploiting it. Surely better and safer operating systems can be developed in todays day and age but this also requires the will to do so from people in the industry.
In should be noted that in MSC Circ/1206 it clearly states that " It require member Governments to <font face="TimesNewRoman]<strong>encourage</strong> shipowners, when undertaking maintenance and repair activities, to employ qualified personnel, preferably certified by the manufacturer."</font>
<font face="TimesNewRoman] This above statement is quite clear in the declaration by the IMO that the manufacturer is not necessarily the the only one who needs to be employed for the job.</font>
<font face="TimesNewRoman]Brgds, </font>
<font face="TimesNewRoman]Deepak Malhotra</font>