1 The Maritime Safety Committee, at its seventy-eighth
session (12 to 21 May 2004), considered several reports of injuries
sustained by seafarers during free-fall launches of free-fall lifeboats
from heights greater than 20 metres.
2 The Committee endorsed the proposal of the Sub-Committee
on Ship Design and Equipment to add a relevant item to its short-term
work plan for measures to prevent accidents with lifeboats, to consider
the need for improvements to the requirements for design and configuration
of free-fall lifeboat seating and launch arrangements to protect the
occupants from harmful acceleration forces, particularly with regard
to free-fall launch heights greater than 20 metres.
3 The Committee, recognizing the ongoing work
of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment to address this
issue, agreed that in enforcing the provisions of SOLAS regulation III/220.127.116.11 with regard
to free-fall lifeboats being launched from heights greater than 20
metres, Administrations may accept launching by falls in lieu of free-fall
launching, provided that a simulated free-fall launch is conducted
at least every six months.
4 Member Governments are invited to bring this
circular to the attention of their Administrations and all parties
5 This circular remains in effect for two years
from the date of this circular unless revoked earlier.