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    For several years, the IMO has been looking to improve the safety of lifeboat on-load release hooks. The number of failures during drills and inspections which resulted in casualties or injured crewmembers has been unacceptably high.
    At the 89th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 89) in May 2011, the IMO adopted amendments to SOLAS chapter III and the LSA Code, as well as related Guidelines for the Evaluation of Existing On-load Release and Retrieval Systems (OLRRS).
    Adherent to MSC 1392 guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems, this regulation for hook regulations for lifeboat safety entered into force on 1 January 2013.

    Summary of new requirements MSC 89 adopted/approved:
    Resolution MSC. 317 (89) which introduces new requirements under SOLAS regulation III/1.5 for lifeboat release and retrieval systems (OLRRS). The requirements apply to on-load mechanisms installed on all ships (new and existing cargo and passenger ships). The entry into force date is January 1, 2013, and the requirements will take effect on July 1, 2014.
    Resolution MSC. 320 (89) which revises the LSA Code (Chapter IV). The expected entry into force date is January 1,2013. The main purpose of the revision of chapter IV of the Code is to prevent unexpected accidents during lifeboat drills and/or inspections.
    MSC.1/Circ.1392, Guidelines for Evaluation and Replacement of Lifeboat Release and Retrieval Systems. These Guidelines are only applicable to existing OLRRS. They cover: design review; performance test; reporting the evaluation results for existing OLRRS; one-time follow-up overhaul examination; and procedure for replacing noncompliant OLRRS.
    MSC.1/Circ.1393, MSC circular on Early Application of new SOLAS regulation III/1.5. This circular clarifies the application to newbuilds and encourages the use of compliant OLRRS at the earliest opportunity.
    Resolution MSC.321 (89), Amendments to the revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (Resolution MSC.81 (70), as amended), relevant to the revised LSA Code Chapter IV.

    Impact for existing ships:
    Ships must comply with the revised LSA Code sections to not later than the first scheduled dry-docking after July 1, 2014, but not later than July 1, 2019.

    Implication for manufacturers
    Manufacturers are to assess all of their types of OLRRS at the earliest opportunity. They should submit the assessment to a flag administration or recognised organisation (RO) and carry out a subsequent performance test. All of this should be completed before July 1, 2013.