Malta’s Maritime Safety Investigation Unit issue a safety alert following lifeboat accident that took the lives of five 'Thomson Majesty' crew.
The safety alert reads:
"On 10 February 2013, the Maltese registered passenger vessel Thomson Majesty was berthed port side alongside in Santa Crux de La Palma. The ship commenced a General Emergency and Life Boat Drill for all crew members. Three lifeboats on the outboard side were to be lowered to the water and sent away for training purposes.
During the recovery and hoisting of no. 9 lifeboat, the forward wire fall parted causing the boat to swivel on the aft hook. As the boat reached an angle of approximately 45° to the horizontal, the aft end of the boat and the hook failed and the boat dropped approximately 20 metres to the sea, turning upside down as it entered the water."
"One crew member was thrown from the boat as it entered the water, and two crew members managed to escape from the upturned boat by their own efforts. The remaining five crew members were subsequently declared deceased at the scene."
"The fore and aft davit’s falls were replaced on 22 August 2010 and the next scheduled replacement was August 2014. The launching appliance had been dynamically tested in May 2012. Initial results of the tests carried out on the parted ends of the wire indicate significant corrosion damage to the inner strands of the wire"
The investigation is still open and the full safety investigation report will be made publically available on completion.
Meanwhile, all owners and masters should be on the alert of the potential hazards related to fall wire failure and: Ensure that the falls are continuously well lubricated with an approved type of grease, particularly those areas that are difficult to inspect, where the falls pass through and around sheaves. Inspect regularly, frequently and thoroughly all visible parts of wire falls in order to detect general deterioration and deformation, including corrosion, abrasion, and mechanical damage.