Following a safety bulletin from the from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the USCG has issued a safety alert for two models of lifejacket lights manufactured by Denmark-based Alcares and distributed by Datrex.
The water activated flashing lifejacket lights models involved are the Jack A1-ALK and Jack ARH-ALK (CG approval numbers 161.112/88 and 161.112/90) types.
The bulletin from CLIA says that inspections have discovered over 3,000 non-operational lights. All of the faulty lights discovered had leaky batteries and some were identified as having incorrect battery expiration labels. All of the faulty lights were found to be non-operational before their expiration date.
The USCG alert is the latest regarding the lifejackets affected and follows alerts from other flag states earlier in the year. Alcares, has already taken action and has a dedicated area on its website addressing the issue.
The issue with the lifejacket
According to Alcares, the only apparent difference between a non-leaking alkaline battery and a standard alkaline battery is that after it has been activated and the batteries are empty for power, then the standard battery can begin to leak after a short period of time. All the batteries are sealed in a plastic container, the leaking material is contained inside the light and in that form poses no hazard for human beings.
The USCG warning recommends that lifejackets with lights, especially those with automatic lights, be stored in temperature and humidity controlled, water-tight environments. Visual inspections and tests must be conducted in accordance with vessel carriage requirements and manufacturer manuals.
Vessel owners/operators should check their lifejacket lights to verify that they are operational at the nearest opportunity.
For more information on personal protection at sea we would recommend reading this article.