Testing and evaluation of lifeboat stability - Experimental stability testing and a study of the responsibility delegation between the parties involved in the classification process of life-saving appliances
Abstract: During a lifeboat training session, the authors experienced a lifeboat to be somewhat “on the edge” with regards to its stability, and an interest to practically test lifeboats’ stability and their compliance with the relevant requirements arose. This, together with the fact that one relatively newly manufactured and type-approved lifeboat was found to not fully comply with the relevant requirements in a recently performed test, despite having undergone and passed the regulated tests and evaluation in the classification process, prompted this study on stability and evaluation of lifeboat stability.This study investigates how well three type-approved lifeboats comply with the relevant stability requirements of the Life-saving Appliances Code (LSA), and how the responsibilities are delegated between the involved parties in the classification process of life-saving appliances. The theoretical chapter presents the relevant regulations, laws and requirements applicable to a totally enclosed lifeboat and the classification process of life-saving appliances. Furthermore, basic theory behind transverse ship stability and heel angle testing is presented.For answering the research questions of the study, two research methods were applied; an experimental method comprised of field experiments and systematic observations for testing of the lifeboats’ compliance with the stability requirements through practical heeling tests, and a documentary research method to investigate how the responsibilities are delegated within the classification process.The results from the experimental stability tests show that one of the tested lifeboats does not fully comply with the stability requirements of the LSA-Code. The results on the responsibility delegation show, that the regulations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on life-saving appliances which in turn have been transposed into the legal system of the European Union, point towards a responsibility delegation where the Notified Bodies or Recognized Organisations as the controlling party, carry the responsibility for ensuring that the life-saving appliances comply with the requirements during manufacturing, as well as on-board installation.
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