maib safety warning liferaft

The MAIB has issued a safety warning issued about servicing and certification after a liferaft onboard the FV PIEDRAS failed to inflate during an emergency. Photo: MAIB

Safety warning issued about servicing and certification after a liferaft failed to inflate during an emergency

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) in the UK has released a bulletin urging all owners and operators of DSB liferafts serviced by Comfer Marin SL, Spain between Jan 2017 and June 2022 to contact the nearest approved Survitec liferaft service station.

On 01 June 2022, the engine room of the UK registered stern trawler Piedras (FD 528) flooded while fishing 78 nautical miles south-west of Mizen Head, the Republic of Ireland. The crew were unable to contain the flooding, so the skipper gave the order to abandon ship and the port liferaft was released manually; however, it failed to inflate correctly. The starboard liferaft was successfully launched and the crew used it to transfer to a nearby fishing vessel. Piedras eventually capsized and sank.

The port liferaft was never recovered and inspection of the starboard liferaft (see photograph) found that it had not been correctly serviced since manufacture in March 2007, despite having been routinely certified.


Safety issues

Both liferafts exhibited deficiencies that raised servicing and certification concerns and are likely to have contributed to the port liferaft failure.

Deutsche Schlauchboot GmbH (DSB) liferafts certified by the service station Comfer Marin SL in Marin, Spain may not function correctly when deployed or meet statutory requirements.



Shortly after the accident, MAIB wrote to DSB’s parent company Survitec to issue recommendations regarding the servicing and certification of its liferafts, and the company is now further recommended (S2023/103) to distribute this safety bulletin to all owners and operators with DSB liferafts certified by Comfer Marin SL between January 2017 and June 2022.

In a second recommendation (S2023/104M) MAIB is urging all affected vessel owners and operators to immediately contact their nearest approved Survitec liferaft service station to arrange for the liferafts to be urgently reinspected and serviced to ensure they are fully functional and comply with statutory requirements.


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