Water was observed under the floor in the freefall lifeboat when it was lowered to the waterborne position. This accumulated water had slight corrosion on the high-pressure air bottles.
Causal factors: Substandard working practices not followed and poor housekeeping.
Preventative action: All flooring was removed; the inside bottom was cleaned and dried out; air bottles were disconnected and removed from the lifeboat then care – fully chipped and painted over with two layers of paint. The matter was discussed with the safety and deputy safety officers and the necessity of inspecting the freefall lifeboat for the presence of water was recognised as being important. The ship managers confirmed the above actions were appropriate. The master advised everyone that during each weekly inspection of the lifeboat, any water accumulation is to be checked and, if found, removed immediately.
The source of the water under the deck flooring was not mentioned: It was most probably due to the failure of the hatch seal. A weekly visual inspection of survival craft, rescue boats and launching appliances is required under SOLAS III/20.6.1. Chipping air bottles is not recommended. If there is that level of corrosion, the bottles should be landed for overhaul/testing and if light scale is observed, then use of a wire brush and painting may be appropriate.