Schat-Harding is to launch a new generation freefall lifeboat for the offshore industry at the Offshore North Sea exhibition. The FF1200 boat
and matching davit will have a capacity for up to 70 persons and will be suitable for drop heights from platforms and other offshore units up to
33 m above sea level in extreme conditions. The unique feature of the new design is that it meets all the new OLF (The Norwegian Oil Industry
Association) design criteria for lifeboats in the Norwegian offshore sector, which leads the world in offshore safety standards.
The FF1200 has additional clearance inside the boat for safety and comfort with a more streamlined shape and powerful engine to give better headway in waves. Improved structural design will maximize canopy strength during the drop and splash in and a new seat design is based on heavier workers, with an average weight of 100 kg. Five point seatbelts will keep passengers from 1.4 m to 2.1 m tall safe and comfortable even with high drop heights into heavy waves.
New research has shown that some passengers in high-drop freefall boats can be exposed to very high g forces, especially when the boat is
launched into heavy seas. Schat-Harding, working with the OLF, has introduced a new seat, seat belt and head protection arrangement which are designed to ensure that all personnel in the lifeboat are protected from high g forces when launched even into the troughs of large waves.
The new seats and head restraints have been tested at the TNO Automotive test centre in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The tests are based on a
worst case scenario with waves up to 15 m significant height. Seats and restraints based on the principles proven in the test will be fitted to
the new FF1200 and also be available for retrofit to the FF1000 and FF48 freefall boats in service.
A full size prototype will be tested at the end of 2008. Orders for the new boats have already been received from BP Norge for the Skarv FPSO
and Valhall RD, and Talisman Energy for the Yme RD. The first delivery is due March 2009.