Pains Wessex is playing its part in helping to influence safety legislation worldwide. The parent company of Pains Wessex, Chemring Marine, is represented by Keith Bradford and is a member of the International Life-saving Manufacturers’ Association (ILAMA). The company regularly attends meetings helping to influence safety legislation through lobbying national approval authorities and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The AGM took place to coincide with Posidonia International Shipping Exhibition in Athens and was well attended by representatives from major suppliers worldwide.
Currently, one of the main topics with which ILAMA is involved is lobbying Governments around the world regarding legislation surrounding extended service periods for life rafts and replacing the dated / fixed life products fitted inside them by their expiry date.
Keith explained: “It’s the main issue for us – as pyrotechnic manufacturers – at the moment. There’s a growing trend among life raft manufacturers to move towards extended service periods – this could be as much as 30 months and more compared to the norm of a year.
“Any products with a fixed life, whether they are water, rations, batteries or pyrotechnics could be quite a bit out of date by the time the next service is scheduled.
“Some service centres change these products if they are going to be out of date by the next scheduled service, which is what we want to see as standard practice. But some only change them if there’s less than six months of life left; some leave them in if still just in date.”
Keith added that expiry dates on these life products are there for a reason and should not be ignored.
He commented: “Presently rafts may not get serviced precisely every 12 months, for example ships can get a five month extension if not near an authorised service station. This means a three-year flare can be, in the worst case, up to four or four-and-a-half years old before it is replaced. It may then not fully comply with the required SOLAS performance standards.
“We’re pushing for the authorities to recognise this. The worry is that products, including flares, can be left in the life rafts even if they only have one month of lifespan left. All sorts of equipment can be affected.”