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Life-Saving Appliances and LSA Code 2017: What You Need to Know


Life-Saving Appliances (Inc. LSA Code) 2017




Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were on a ship that encountered an emergency at sea? How would you protect yourself and others from drowning, hypothermia, fire or other hazards? How would you communicate with rescuers and other survivors? How would you ensure that you have enough food, water and medical supplies until help arrives?




Life-Saving Appliances (Inc. Lsa Code) 2017l



The answer to these questions lies in the life-saving appliances that every ship must carry on board. These are devices and equipment that are designed to save lives in case of a maritime accident or disaster. They include personal life-saving appliances, such as lifebuoys, lifejackets, immersion suits and thermal protective aids; visual aids, such as flares and smoke signals; survival craft, such as liferafts and lifeboats; rescue boats; launching and embarkation appliances; marine evacuation systems; line throwing appliances; and general alarm and public address systems.


But how do we know what kind of life-saving appliances are required for each type of ship? How do we ensure that they are manufactured, tested, maintained and used properly? How do we keep up with the latest developments and innovations in this field?


The answer to these questions lies in the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code, which is a set of technical standards and regulations that governs the design, construction, performance and operation of life-saving appliances on ships. The LSA Code was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.


In this article, we will explore what are life-saving appliances, what is the LSA Code, what are the latest amendments to the LSA Code, and how to comply with the LSA Code. We will also provide some frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end for further information.


What are life-saving appliances?




Definition and types of life-saving appliances




According to the IMO, life-saving appliances are "any device intended to save lives at sea or to prevent persons being lost at sea". They can be classified into two main categories: personal life-saving appliances and collective life-saving appliances.


Personal life-saving appliances are those that are worn or carried by individuals, such as:



  • Lifebuoys: ring-shaped devices that can float on water and support one or more persons. They may have lights, smoke signals or self-activating devices attached to them.



  • Lifejackets: garments that can provide buoyancy and thermal protection to a person in water. They may have lights, whistles or other means of attracting attention.



  • Immersion suits: suits that cover the whole body except for the face and hands and can provide thermal insulation and flotation to a person in cold water.



  • Anti-exposure suits: suits that cover the whole body except for the face and can provide thermal insulation and protection from wind and spray to a person in cold or wet conditions.



  • Thermal protective aids: bags or suits that can cover at least the upper part of the body and can provide thermal insulation to a person in cold water.



Collective life-saving appliances are those that are used by groups of people, such as:



  • Survival craft: boats or rafts that can carry survivors away from a ship in distress and provide them with shelter, food, water and medical supplies. They may be inflatable, rigid or rigid-inflatable and may have propulsion, steering, communication and navigation equipment.



  • Rescue boats: boats that can be used to rescue persons in distress, recover survival craft or tow liferafts. They may have propulsion, steering, communication and navigation equipment.



  • Launching and embarkation appliances: devices and equipment that are used to launch and board survival craft and rescue boats, such as davits, winches, falls, slides, chutes and ladders.



  • Marine evacuation systems: systems that allow rapid and safe evacuation of persons from a ship to a survival craft via a chute or a slide.



  • Line throwing appliances: devices that can project a line to another ship or to the shore for establishing a connection or transferring persons or materials.



  • General alarm and public address systems: systems that can alert and inform persons on board a ship of an emergency situation and instruct them on what to do.



Why are life-saving appliances important?




Life-saving appliances are important because they can make the difference between life and death in case of a maritime emergency. They can help prevent drowning, hypothermia, fire, exposure, dehydration, starvation and infection. They can also help facilitate rescue operations and reduce the risk of further damage or loss.


According to the IMO, more than 80% of fatalities in maritime accidents are due to drowning or exposure. Therefore, having adequate and effective life-saving appliances on board can significantly reduce the mortality rate and improve the chances of survival for passengers and crew.


Moreover, life-saving appliances are not only important for saving lives, but also for protecting the environment. By preventing or minimizing the release of oil, chemicals or other hazardous substances from a ship in distress, life-saving appliances can help prevent or mitigate marine pollution and its adverse effects on marine ecosystems and human health.


What is the LSA Code?




History and purpose of the LSA Code




The LSA Code is an international code of standards and regulations that applies to life-saving appliances on all types of ships. It was adopted by the IMO in 1996 as a resolution under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which is the most important treaty concerning the safety of merchant ships.


The LSA Code was developed to harmonize and update the existing requirements for life-saving appliances that were scattered among various IMO instruments, such as the SOLAS Convention, the International Convention on Load Lines (LL), the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and others. It also aimed to incorporate new technologies and innovations in the field of life-saving appliances that were not covered by the previous regulations.


The purpose of the LSA Code is to provide international standards for the design, construction, performance and operation of life-saving appliances on ships. It also provides guidelines for testing, approval, inspection, maintenance and record keeping of life-saving appliances. The LSA Code is intended to ensure that life-saving appliances are fit for their purpose and can function effectively under various conditions.


Main contents and requirements of the LSA Code




The LSA Code consists of seven chapters and four annexes. The main contents and requirements of each chapter are summarized below:



ChapterContentsRequirements


IGeneralCovers definitions, application, exemptions, equivalents and general requirements for life-saving appliances


IIPersonal life-saving appliancesCovers specifications, markings, testing procedures and performance criteria for lifebuoys, lifejackets, immersion suits, anti-exposure suits and thermal protective aids


IIIVisual signalsCovers specifications, markings, testing procedures and performance criteria for parachute flares, hand flares and buoyant smoke signalsIVSurvival craftCovers specifications, markings, testing procedures and performance criteria for liferafts, lifeboats, rescue boats and launching appliances


VRescue boatsCovers specifications, markings, testing procedures and performance criteria for rescue boats and launching appliances


VILaunching and embarkation appliancesCovers specifications, testing procedures and performance criteria for davits, winches, falls and other devices used to launch and board survival craft and rescue boats


VIIOther life-saving appliancesCovers specifications, testing procedures and performance criteria for marine evacuation systems, line throwing appliances and general alarm and public address systems


The four annexes provide additional information and guidance on the following topics:



  • Annex 1: Symbols related to life-saving appliances and arrangements



  • Annex 2: Testing of life-saving appliances



  • Annex 3: Materials used in the construction of life-saving appliances



  • Annex 4: Servicing and repair of inflatable liferafts, inflatable lifejackets, hydrostatic release units, inflatable rescue boats and marine evacuation systems



What are the latest amendments to the LSA Code?




Amendments adopted in 2017 and entered into force in 2020




The LSA Code is not a static document. It is subject to periodic review and amendment by the IMO to reflect the changes and developments in the field of life-saving appliances. The amendments are adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which is the highest technical body of the IMO that deals with maritime safety matters.


The latest amendments to the LSA Code were adopted by the MSC at its ninety-eighth session by resolution MSC.425(98) on 15 June 2017. These amendments entered into force on 1 January 2020. They include the following changes:



  • A new paragraph 1.2.2.1 was added to chapter I to clarify that life-saving appliances should be constructed using materials that do not produce excessive quantities of toxic gases or vapours when exposed to fire.



  • A new paragraph 4.4.7.6.17 was added to chapter IV to require that lifeboats on cargo ships should have a means of preventing accidental release of the on-load release mechanism during recovery.



  • A new paragraph 4.4.7.6.18 was added to chapter IV to require that lifeboats on cargo ships should have a means of clearly indicating the status of the on-load release mechanism.



  • A new paragraph 4.4.7.6.19 was added to chapter IV to require that lifeboats on cargo ships should have a means of resetting the on-load release mechanism from inside the lifeboat.



  • A new paragraph 5.1.1.3 was added to chapter V to require that rescue boats should have a means of preventing accidental release of the on-load release mechanism during recovery.



  • A new paragraph 5.1.1.4 was added to chapter V to require that rescue boats should have a means of clearly indicating the status of the on-load release mechanism.



  • A new paragraph 5.1.1.5 was added to chapter V to require that rescue boats should have a means of resetting the on-load release mechanism from inside the rescue boat.



  • The existing paragraphs 6.1.1.5 and 6.1.1.6 in chapter VI were replaced by new paragraphs to specify the minimum factors of safety for structural members and fittings used in connection with launching equipment.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.2 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be designed with due regard to ergonomics and operation under adverse weather conditions.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.3 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with limit switches or other devices to prevent overloading or over-traveling.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.4 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with brakes or other means to control the speed of lowering.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.5 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with remote controls for emergency operation.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.6 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with indicators for the load, speed and length of falls.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.7 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with interlocks or other means to prevent inadvertent operation of the on-load release mechanism.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.8 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with devices to prevent slack falls.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.9 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with devices to prevent falls from jumping out of sheaves.



  • A new paragraph 6.1.10 was added to chapter VI to require that launching appliances should be fitted with devices to prevent corrosion and wear of falls.



Implications and benefits of the amendments




The amendments to the LSA Code are intended to enhance the safety and performance of life-saving appliances on ships. They aim to address some of the issues and challenges that have been identified by the IMO, such as:



  • The risk of accidental release of the on-load release mechanism during recovery of lifeboats and rescue boats, which could result in serious injuries or fatalities.



  • The lack of clear indication of the status of the on-load release mechanism, which could lead to confusion or misuse by the crew.



  • The difficulty of resetting the on-load release mechanism from inside the lifeboat or rescue boat, which could delay or prevent the release of the boat from the falls.



  • The insufficient strength and durability of structural members and fittings used in connection with launching equipment, which could cause failure or malfunction.



  • The inadequate design and functionality of launching appliances, which could affect their operation and maintenance under various conditions.



By introducing these amendments, the IMO expects to achieve the following benefits:



  • Improved safety and reliability of life-saving appliances on ships.



  • Reduced risk of accidents and injuries involving life-saving appliances on ships.



  • Increased confidence and competence of crew in using life-saving appliances on ships.



  • Enhanced compliance with international standards and regulations for life-saving appliances on ships.



How to comply with the LSA Code?




Responsibilities of ship owners, operators and crew




The LSA Code is mandatory for all ships that are subject to the SOLAS Convention, which includes most types of cargo ships and passenger ships engaged in international voyages. Therefore, ship owners, operators and crew have certain responsibilities and obligations to ensure that their ships comply with the LSA Code.


Some of these responsibilities and obligations are:



  • To ensure that their ships are equipped with adequate and appropriate life-saving appliances as per the LSA Code and the SOLAS Convention.



  • To ensure that their ships' life-saving appliances are approved by the competent authority or a recognized organization in accordance with the LSA Code and the SOLAS Convention.



  • To ensure that their ships' life-saving appliances are inspected, tested, maintained and repaired in accordance with the LSA Code, the SOLAS Convention and the manufacturer's instructions.



  • To ensure that their ships' life-saving appliances are marked, stowed, secured and arranged in a manner that facilitates their ready availability and use in an emergency.



  • To ensure that their ships' crew are familiar with the location, operation and function of their ships' life-saving appliances and are trained and drilled in their use in accordance with the LSA Code, the SOLAS Convention and the STCW Convention.



Recommendations and guidance on testing and maintenance of life-saving appliances




The LSA Code provides general requirements and procedures for testing and maintenance of life-saving appliances on ships. However, for more specific and detailed information, ship owners, operators and crew can refer to other IMO publications that provide recommendations and guidance on this topic. Some of these publications are:



  • Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances (Resolution MSC.81(70))



  • Guidelines for Periodic Servicing and Maintenance of Lifeboats, Launching Appliances and On-Load Release Gear (Resolution MSC.402(96))



  • Guidelines for Periodic Testing I have continued writing the article based on the outline and the search results. Here is the rest of the article with HTML formatting. of Lifeboat Release and Retrieval Systems (Resolution MSC.402(96))



  • Guidelines for Developing Operation and Maintenance Manuals for Lifeboat Systems (Resolution MSC.1093(73))



  • Guidelines for Periodic Inspection of Immersion Suits and Anti-Exposure Suits by Ships' Crews (Circular MSC/Circ.1047)



  • Guidelines on Annual Testing of Satellite Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs) (Circular MSC/Circ.1040)



These publications can be obtained from the IMO website or from authorized distributors.


Conclusion




Summary of the main points




In this article, we have learned about the following topics:



  • What are life-saving appliances and why are they important for the safety of passengers and crew on ships.



  • What is the LSA Code and what is its history and purpose.



  • What are the main contents and requirements of the LSA Code.



  • What are the latest amendments to the LSA Code and what are their implications and benefits.



  • How to comply with the LSA Code and what are the responsibilities and obligations of ship owners, operators and crew.



  • What are some of the IMO publications that provide recommendations and guidance on testing and maintenance of life-saving appliances.



We hope that this article has provided you with useful and relevant information on life-saving appliances and the LSA Code. We also hope that it has increased your awareness and knowledge of this important aspect of maritime safety.


FAQs




Here are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about life-saving appliances and the LSA Code:



  • How many life-saving appliances are required on a ship?



The number, capacity and type of life-saving appliances required on a ship depend on various factors, such as the size, type, activity and voyage of the ship; the number of persons on board; the environmental conditions; and the availability of rescue services. The LSA Code and the SOLAS Convention provide minimum requirements for each type of ship, but ship owners, operators and crew may choose to carry more or better life-saving appliances than required if they deem it necessary or beneficial.


  • How often should life-saving appliances be tested and maintained?



The frequency and extent of testing and maintenance of life-saving appliances depend on various factors, such as the type, design, manufacturer and use of the life-saving appliances; the environmental conditions; and the recommendations and guidance from the IMO, competent authorities, recognized organizations and manufacturers. The LSA Code provides general requirements for testing and maintenance of life-saving appliances, but


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