Schat-Harding to Exceed SOLAS Standards

Thursday, August 18, 2005
Schat-Harding has agreed with Statoil to recall six of its FF1000S skid-launched freefall lifeboats for strengthening beyond SOLAS requirements. In service tests show that SOLAS requirements may need modifying for free fall boats for very high drop heights from some North Sea oil platforms. The move follows tests on boats installed on Statoil's Veslefrikk B platform in the North Sea. "The boat had been type approved by Lloyd's Register for a service freefall height of 36 m, and according to SOLAS standards," says Ove Roessland, president of Schat-Harding. "However, when tested with a ten per cent overload from the rig itself, with a drop height of 32 m, part of the structure of the canopy deformed and a hatch failed. Working closely with Statoil, Norways' Petroleum Safety Authority, Marintek (The Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute) and DNV we have set new and more rigorous standards for our high drop skid-launched free fall lifeboats. Following that process Schat-Harding has determined that while the standards set by SOLAS are adequate for merchant ships and for low rig drop heights, extra reinforcement is required for very high drop heights. "All six of these boats supplied to Norwegian offshore rigs have now been returned to the factory for modification, and will be back in service after the new tests. We will work with the Norwegian authorities to ensure that this is also brought to the notice of IMO so that SOLAS can be modified as required." Outside the North Sea ten of these FF1000S lifeboats are in service on rigs and ships. All have carried out successful installation tests. All of these lifeboats are operating in the lower end of the free fall heights, from 15-20 m, and there is no need for the extra reinforcing required for the very high drops from the North Sea platforms. However, Schat-Harding will contact all its clients and inform them of the tests and results. The FF1000S (skid-launched) free fall boat is certified for a free fall height of 36 m. It is built for 63 persons and designed according to IMO SOLAS LSA - Code MSC.48 (66) and MSC.81 (70) and certified under the European Marine Equipment Directive by Lloyd's Register. "When the boats go back into service they will have finished the new and more extensive test program and will be the most tested and documented free fall boats in the world. They will have the highest certified free fall height in the world, 36 m. And they will be the boats built to the highest safety factors, far exceeding both any in service and any standards set by any authorities, and thus be the safest boats you can get," says Roessland.
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