Safety warning regarding discovery of overweight rescue boats

Urgent recommendation made to owners of ships using rescue boats or fast rescue craft built with integral polyurethane foam-filled compartments.

Safety Bulletin 1/2011

SB1-11.pdf (2,780.28 kb)

Summary

On 7 February 2011, the fall wire attached to the rescue boat of the UK registered car carrier Tombarra parted during a routine drill. This occurred in the sheltered waters of the Royal Portbury Docks, Bristol, England and resulted in four crew falling nearly 29 metres into the water below. One of the boat’s crew died and two were hospitalised.

This safety bulletin was issued during the MAIB investigation when the rescue boat was found to be overweight. Several rescue boats of the same model were also found to be significantly heavier than when supplied. The document makes urgent recommendations to owners of ships using rescue boats or fast rescue craft built with integral polyurethane foam-filled compartments.

Feedback was also sought from owners and operators to determine the extent of the problem. Concerns regarding weight of rescue boat should be sent to MAIB via email.

The weight of rescue boat alone was not enough to cause the accident. A second safety bulletin (Number 2/2011) discusses the malfunction of a proximity switch, which resulted in the failure of a fall wire.

Published: April 2011

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