The following report was received from a company DPA.
What the reporter told us:
I want to share the following with you as I feel it would make a worthwhile safety flash to share across the industry. One of our vessels has reported that on two of its inflatable lifejackets, the servicing tags had been fitted in such a manner that they made it impossible to adjust the waist strap. Please see the attached photographs which illustrate the issue.
CHIRP engaged with the reporter to confirm that the ‘next service’ tags in question had been fitted by a third-party service centre – they had been. After checking other vessels in the company, the reporter advised CHIRP that four other ships had equipment serviced by the same service provider. However, it appeared that this was an isolated incident which had not been replicated elsewhere. The DPA forwarded full details to the servicing company who gave assurances that it would not happen again.
Beyond this specific report there is a wider issue with regards to the integrity and quality of service provided by some third-party service centres around the world. Ships’ staff frequently assume that equipment sent ashore to a recognised third-party service centre is correctly serviced and returned in good, safe, operational condition. Complete with a new certificate, the equipment can be put into service around the vessel without further consideration.
However, CHIRP would suggest that upon return from third-party servicing, LSA and FFA equipment needs to be checked by ship’s staff and, if possible, tested before being put into service. CHIRP is aware of liferafts being returned with time-expired equipment and survival rations out of date – only discovered on a subsequent service in a different country. BA sets have been returned in an inoperative condition and fire extinguishers returned with either time-expired CO2 cartridges or unpressurised stored pressure units. It is possible that the renewed certificate is considered more important than a proficient health check on equipment.