Due to a faulty spring, the EPIRB would have failed to operate when needed.
What did the reporter tell us?
The vessel was at anchor. During routine inspection of the bridge equipment, the officer on watch observed that the spring of the EPIRB unit, which assists to release the equipment, was broken due to rust (over age) of the equipment, and insufficient equipment inspections.
The lessons to be learnt
This is an indication that previous inspections of the equipment were not effective.
CHIRP noted that whilst a significant defect to essential life-saving communications equipment was observed and rectified by an alert watchkeeper, there is an underlying problem associated with routine planned maintenance.
The challenge from CHIRP to its readers is: How do you ensure that all of your inspections and maintenance are indeed thorough and effective? Possibly your planned maintenance instructions need to be more thorough – on a routine inspection the instruction might be to “Inspect the EPIRB” which simply invites a “tick the box” response. Or it might give much more detail to involve a thorough check of the equipment. This simple example concerns a lot more than inspections by ship’s personnel – it involves full shore based management commitment to their Planned Maintenance Systems, and manufacturers issuing detailed maintenance requirements for their equipment.
This precaution could save your life so you decide…….