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Escaping a problem

The lifeboat issue on the NCS has been part of the government and industry agenda for years. Changes to the regulations could now be on the way.

This article was published in the magazine "Safety - status and signals 2011-2012"

Amended Norwegian rules for freefall and davit-launched lifeboats, their launch systems, and other rescue and evacuation equipment on offshore installations are under consideration.

This work is being pursued by the PSA in dialogue with the companies and the unions through the tripartite Regulatory Forum.

Today’s offshore lifeboats with associated launch systems have significant weaknesses, and thereby fail to meet the level of safety which was earlier assumed to exist. That has made it necessary to initiate extensive compensatory measures, observes Sigurd Robert Jacobsen, a principal engineer with the PSA.

“Safety must be the same for all who work in the Norway’s petroleum industry. At present, however, it depends on the type of lifeboat on an installation and on which compensatory measures have been adopted.”

Shortcomings of today’s lifeboats relate to the structural strength of superstructure and hulls, gravitational (G) forces acting on passengers, propulsion and buoyancy/stability.

Plans call for a consultation process to begin on the draft of the amended regulations during 2012, and for the final text to come into force after 2014.

“It’s our impression that good work is now being done on the challenges related to lifeboats on the NCS,” says Mr Jacobsen.