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PSA asks for lifeboats answers from companies with mobile facilities

In identical letters to companies that own mobile facilities with conventional lifeboats, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) is asking for answers about several factors connected to the use of lifeboats as a means of evacuation.

In the second half of 2007, questions were raised about the suitability of the lifeboats for evacuation in bad weather. The players in the industry initiated activities and took steps to safeguard the requirements for rapid and efficient evacuation at all times. A project was also started under the direction of the Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NR) targeting conventional lifeboats.

Must evaluate activities and measures
The players must continuously assess whether the activities and measures that were implemented are sufficient to safeguard the requirements for fast and efficient evacuation at all times. Additional activities and measures must be implemented where necessary. The PSA is now requesting answers to the following questions about the respective player's facilities by 10 November 2008:

  • Do the implemented measures safeguard requirements for fast and efficient evacuation?  Cf. Activities Regulations, Section 68, litera d
  • What assessments have been made to measure the effect of the implemented measures?
  • If applicable, what adjustments, changes or improvements have been identified to further develop and continue the measures?
  • What information has been obtained from the ongoing lifeboat projects?
  • How has the information from the ongoing lifeboat projects affected measures that have been implemented, and the preparations for this winter season?

 Lifeboat owners are ultimately responsible
The HSE regulations for the petroleum activities are normative, with functional requirements. This means that the regulations state the level of safety that must be achieved, but not how to achieve it. The lifeboats have always been subject to these functional requirements.

The Activities Regulations (Section 68, litera d) state that "The party responsible shall ensure that necessary actions are taken as quickly as possible in the event of situations of hazard and accident … so that the personnel on the facility can be quickly and efficiently evacuated at all times".

 An important part of the precautionary principle is that the respective operator and/or shipowner immediately implements necessary compensating measures, for example when lifeboat weaknesses are uncovered. The precautionary principle also entails that measures must be evaluated – and possibly implemented – if there is uncertainty regarding use of the lifeboats in specific wind and wave conditions.

The owners of the lifeboats, i.e. operators/shipowners, have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that equipment that is put to use is suitable for the purpose and that it meets the regulatory requirements.

Contacts in the PSA:
Rune Solheim
E-mail: rune.solheim@ptil.no

Sigurd Robert Jacobsen
E-mail: sigurdrobert.jacobsen@ptil.no

Media inquiries:
Inger Anda, press spokesperson
E-mail: inger.anda@ptil.no,  Telephone: +47 970 54 064