The London P&I Club has warned that failure to maintain a proper record of the inspection and testing of onboard lifting equipment can jeopardize owners’ position in the event of a claim.
The cub’s inspection program has recently highlighted several instances of negative findings regarding the ship’s lifting equipment register. In the latest edition of its StopLoss Bulletin, the club says, “Anyone procuring lifting equipment should ensure that they are buying genuine and properly certificated equipment as there are counterfeit products on the market. All ships’ lifting gear should be fully recorded in a register, and a system of condition inspection and testing should be implemented in accordance with statutory requirements.
“If the equipment is not properly inspected and tested at regular intervals, there is a risk that it may present a hazard to the safety of the crew, and a lack of records could deprive owners of valuable evidence when dealing with claims. For example, a recent case involved serious damage to an ISO container and its contents during cargo operations when the container was dropped from height due to a parted wire.
“Owners can argue that a wire parted due to the stevedores’ mishandling, but they would need to show that the equipment had been maintained. If appropriate maintenance records are kept, owners should be able to demonstrate that the failure of the wire was not due to their omission. In the absence of such records, however, proving that the equipment was well maintained will prove challenging.
“Equally, records alone are not enough, as non-destructive testing can easily demonstrate whether or not a lifting wire has been properly maintained. Relevant paperwork should be kept up to date and the condition inspection and testing status of lifting equipment should be taken into account in preparing for heavy lift permit to work operations and in associated task risk.