Viking’s LifeCraft now fully approved
LifeCraft, the specialist mass evacuation system developed by Viking has now obtained flag state approval as a novel life-saving appliance to be installed on passenger ships for the utmost safety in evacuation emergencies.
The stamp of approval was issued by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) in late August. This follows earlier approval of key components of the system, such as the Survival Craft, as part of the innovative system’s development journey. Full commercial availability of the triple award-winning LifeCraft is set to follow within a few months of the breakthrough approval.
The Viking solution has been approved as a novel life-saving appliance system – a well understood and accepted category in the maritime industry. The novel life-saving appliance designation reflects the dual nature of the system, which breaks the mould by making it possible to replace current lifeboat and liferaft evacuation options with a superior, hybrid solution.
The LifeCraft system has a capacity to save 812 people and consists of two main elements: Inflatable Viking LifeCraft survival crafts, and a fully self-contained stowage and launching appliance that can either be placed on deck or built into the ship’s side.
Every system is equipped with four survival crafts holding 203 persons each. With four independent electric engines at its corners, each survival craft is highly manoeuvrable and its ability to quickly turn 360° is unmatched by conventional motor-propelled survival crafts. This design feature is just one of many innovations that showcases how the LifeCraft system exceeds the capabilities of existing evacuation solutions.
”The LifeCraft system goes far beyond the capabilities of existing evacuation solutions and I am very proud of my team and our achievements,” said Viking CEO, Henrik Uhd Christensen. “While the system is a completely new and innovative product, it is based on well-proven technologies and extensive series of tests. And, while most maritime safety products and systems that achieved novel life-saving appliance approvals to date have been adaptations or variations of conventional life-saving appliances, this is the first time a complete – and completely innovative – evacuation solution has fallen under this category”.
“Everyone in the industry knows that novel life-saving equipment requires strict alternative design studies and documentation that can show their superiority to existing life-saving appliances,” said Niels Frænde, Vice President of Sales – Cruise & LifeCraft, at Viking. “We’ve certainly gone the distance with the new system, setting new standards for our design and testing activities throughout the process.”
“We expected the final approval process to go every bit as smoothly as the previous novel life-saving approval, and it did,” said Christensen. “And this achievement comes at a perfect time, considering the amount of interest cruise shipowners are showing in getting this new evacuation solution installed and operational. Now they can take their plans for incorporating it into both newbuilds and existing ships to the next level.”