Maritime safety equipment and servicing provider Viking Life-Saving Equipment has successfully completed a full-scale heavy weather sea trial (HWST) of its new passenger evacuation system LifeCraft.
Designed to serve the cruise ship operators, LifeCraft is a hybrid-intended solution designed to replace lifeboats and liferafts.
The HWST included a number of phases and was conducted on the North Sea between southern Norway and the UK.
As part of the tests, LifeCraft was ballasted with 70t to simulate full capacity before being trialled in heavy weather conditions at sea where the wind was blowing at speeds of up to 18m/s and waves were as high as 3.6m-4.6m.
LifeCraft also faced towering peak waves of 10m during the tests, which were witnessed and approved by DNV GL on behalf of Danish Maritime Authority.
Viking Life-Saving Equipment Cruise and LifeCraft vice president Niels Fraende said: “The HWST involved launching and testing how well the LifeCraft system performs in high winds, stormy seas and extreme weather conditions.
“We launched the LifeCraft with the ship heading 3k up against the wind, exposing the system to the full force of the fierce weather in the most critical test phase.
“We then demonstrated with a simulated dead ship condition that the fully loaded LifeCraft system provides a safe and stable means of evacuation in both the weather and lee side for several hours.”
The HWST also demonstrated the built-in flexibility of LifeCraft by manoeuvring the system on both sides of the vessel to a safe distance.
LifeCraft features two main elements that include four inflatable Viking LifeCraft survival crafts each with a capacity to carry 203 crew, and a fully self-contained stowage and launching appliance.
Developed over a period of ten years by Viking, the evacuation system’s container is expected to undergo a few tests.
LifeCraft is expected to complete documentation and final approval by DMA in the near future.