When 2030 rolls around, end of decade shipping quizzes will doubtless feature a question on the impact of greener marine fuels from January 1, 2020 but seafarers at the sharp end will hope a lower profile IMO safety regulation on equipment maintenance also has a lasting impact.
From January 1 2020, new SOLAS requirements came into force covering maintenance, operational testing and repair for lifeboats, rescue boats and boat launch and recovery systems. They affect all ship owners and managers, yards, suppliers and flag states.
IMO Resolution MSC.402(96) demands that the original equipment manufacturer is involved with annual and five-year servicing of loading/unloading devices (including davits). The new regime envisages genuine, fully-tested spare parts being used and personnel who are certified as trained by an authorized service provider undertaking the work.
If the personnel certificate is not issued by the OEM itself, it must come from a service provider authorized by a flag state or its Recognized Organization, with each make and type of equipment serviced requiring separate authorization.
In recent months, Vestdavit has refreshed the classroom training it offers to service partners at its Bergen headquarters and brought its own training davit into service nearby to offer hands-on lessons in maintenance issues. It has also expanded its network of certified service partners, with new authorizations in diverse markets, including the US, the UK, Russia, Brazil and Singapore.
These steps coincide with the IMO regime change, rather than being prompted by it. For a company whose market position relies on safe boat handling there can be no service compromise on the wave-compensating winches, shock absorbers and other technologies which consistently bring Vestdavit wins from navies, coastguards, pilot authorities and offshore operators.
Boat handling systems from Vestdavit are sophisticated solutions designed for high performance and frequent use over a long lifespan, often in high sea states and harsh conditions. As well as being a crucial mission function for many vessels, they offer a clear example of the way ships and ship operators hold the fate of crews in their hands.
Spare parts from Vestdavit are specifically designed and tested to work within our boat handling systems as a whole: similar-looking parts can have shortcomings that are not immediately identifiable. The materials used for rogue parts will not have had to endure the prior testing regime or surface treatments that we consider vital for overall system performance: if malfunctions occur as a result, possible outcomes could include fatalities.
Unfortunately, service providers sometimes believe that training and certification of approved technicians can come from any company with a davit. This is not true and letting unauthorized personnel undertake inspection and service represents a major risk. We are also aware of cases where service certificates look genuine but are not!
In fact, only service technicians from Vestdavit and its authorized service partners are fully trained and can verify having gone through Vestdavit’s own documentation. In Vestdavit’s view, under the new service regime only authorized personnel should be delivering the service report required by SOLAS for countersigning by the Master, and providing the statement confirming equipment is fit for purpose and the service certificate.
Our advice is to contact Vestdavit or its representatives to verify all credentials.