Lubricate That Liferaft!

A recent saferty alert from the US Coast Guard:

Hammar Manual Remote Release System Pneumatic Pump Units
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding a recent passenger ship grounding revealed difficulties the crew had in manually deploying the vessel’s liferafts from their mounting cradles. The liferafts were fitted with individual Hammar Manual Remote Release System (MRRS) pneumatic vacuum pump units. When the pumps are manually operated a vacuum is quickly and easily created that actuates a corresponding Hammar H20 hydrostatic release unit. In this case a large number of those pumps failed to activate the hydrostatic release units and, ultimately, the crew had to manually cut the liferaft canister lashings. The crew was able to launch all of the vessel’s liferafts successfully in this manner.

MRRS pump units are clearly marked in black letters on a yellow background on the cylinder housing, “Lubricate piston every second year.” The pumps that failed had not been lubricated as required. The malfunctioning MRRS pumps were replaced in kind with new units; USCG inspection showed that the new units operated properly.

Owners, operators, port engineers, inspectors and others involved in vessel safety should ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to properly maintain survival equipment.

The casualty investigation is not complete and additional recommendations are likely to follow.

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