InterManager discussion reveals lifeboat hook concerns

Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General
Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General
Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General

Lifeboat hooks can be “lethal” and their design is out of date and unsuitable to meet modern demands, according to serving seafarers whose views have been gathered by InterManager.

Following a series of incidents and fatalities involving lifeboat hooks, InterManager, the international trade association for the ship management industry, has gathered comments from seafarers of various ranks in an online discussion forum.

Crew members responded by pointing out that they believed the hook designs have not kept pace with developments in the global shipping industry.

“Nothing really has changed for the last five millenniums,” said one Chief Engineer with 35 years’ service on chemical carriers. “These hooks are lethal,” he said. A second Chief Engineer questioned: “Why are we still using very old designs and materials?” and a Master commented “I don’t trust hooks and their arrangements.”

Adding to the debate, a Captain questioned training regimes, saying: “Because almost every vessel has lifeboats of a different design it is very often [a] steep learning curve for all involved.”  While another likened his onboard training to “Russian roulette”.

Respondents included experienced Masters, Captains, Chief Engineers and Chief Officers who had served on a variety of vessels including LNG, chemical carriers, tankers and container ships.

InterManager Secretary General Captain Kuba Szymanski said: “There is a great depth of feeling in the industry on the subject of lifeboats and their safe operation. They are meant to save lives not to endanger them further. I am pleased InterManager has been able to facilitate this debate”