In its latest Class News, LR has issued a reminder that SOLAS Regulation III/20.7.2 requires immersion suits to be carefully examined during monthly inspections of lifesaving appliances. Recent safety notices should also be noted again.
In March 2018, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued a safety notice for immersion suits relating to the model ‘RSF-I’ immersion suits manufactured by the Jiaxing Rongsheng Lifesaving Equipment Company after reported instances of the glue used to attach the main zipper to the body of the suit failing. Subsequently, safety notices have been published on the websites of the Italian Coast Guard and German and Swedish flag Administrations.
The monthly inspections required by SOLAS should take into consideration these notices, both in relation to the ‘RSF-I’ suits and those of other manufacturers, together with any manufacturers’ recommendations. In addition, many flag Administrations require:
- Monthly inspection to be carried out in accordance with MSC/Circ.1047, Guidelines for the monthly shipboard inspection of immersion suits and anti-exposure suits by ships’ crew.
- Periodic testing in accordance with MSC/Circ.1114, Guidelines for periodic testing of immersion suit and anti-exposure suit seams and closures.
If immersion suits are found to be defective, they should be replaced. For type-approved products, onboard repair should only be attempted if suitable documented repair procedures proposed by the manufacturer, and approved in line with the Type Approval process, are available.