Lifeboat release and retrieval system (LRRS)

IMO has adopted new proposals in order to enhance the safety of Lifeboat Release and Retrieval Systems (LRRS), with the purpose of preventing accidents during the launching of lifeboats.

A new SOLAS regulation (III/1.5) requires that (existing) LRRS not meeting the new LSA Code requirements are replaced not later than the first scheduled dry-docking of the ship after 1 July 2014 but, in any case, not later than 1 July 2019. See IMO resolution MSC.317(89). The new requirements that existing systems shall meet are related to:

  • Stability of the hook system;
  • Locking arrangement;
  • Hydrostatic interlock.

The new SOLAS regulation enters into force on 1 January 2013.
The process for the application of the new requirements comprises the following steps:

  • Evaluation of existing equipment;
  • If desired modification of existing equipment;
  • Reporting of evaluation results to IMO;
  • Replacement of non-compliant LRRS.

The following time-schedule reflects the most important moments in the process:

1 January 2013 :The new requirements enter into force
1 July 2013       :The evaluation has to be completed and the results thereof reported to IMO
1 July 2014       :From now on at the first scheduled dry-docking non-compliant LRRS have to be replaced
1 July 2019       :From now on every non-compliant LRRS should have been replaced


All existing LRRS will have to be evaluated, for which IMO has developed a guideline (MSC.1/Circ.1392). NSI applies this guideline as a policy rule, but the use of FPD’s (Fall Preventer Devices, see par.6 of the Annex to the guideline) is not compulsory and is left to the discretion of the master, subject to the instructions of the manufacturer (of the LRRS).

NSI accepts the evaluation results of other Administrations having reported those results to IMO.

The evaluation comprises the following steps:

  • Self-assessment         :Manufacturer
  • Design Review           :RO (Dutch manufacturer) or relevant Administration (foreign manufacturer)
  • Performance Test       :Manufacturer witnessed by RO or relevant Administration (foreign manufacturer)
  • Reporting to IMO        :NSI *
  • Overhaul Examination :Manufacturer or their representative

*In the case of a foreign manufacturer NSI will accept the evaluation result of the relevant Administration


When the result of above mentioned steps 1 to 3 is not satisfactory, the manufacturer may decide to modify the original design. Subsequently all of the above mentioned steps will have to be followed again.


Existing LRRS will have to be evaluated and reported to IMO not later than 1 July 2013. NSI has to report the evaluation results of systems on the Dutch merchant fleet to IMO. In preparation for this an inventory of existing systems on the Dutch merchant fleet has been completed. As a reference an overview (as far as known) of LRRS installed on the Dutch merchant fleet is attached to this article.
The evaluation results of the various LRRS will be shown in due course on the GISIS webapplication of IMO for which IMO is still developing a module.


LRRS having failed the evaluation and/or the “overhaul examination”  will have to be replaced by LRRS that comply with the new requirements. See IMO resolution MSC.320(89), which enters into force on 1 January 2013 as well.

And even though the new requirements already enter into force on 1 January 2013, IMO has decided to keep the application thereof in line with the application date of the new SOLAS regulation III/1.5, i.e. 1 July 2014. At the same time IMO has encouraged Member Governments to apply the new requirements at the earliest opportunity, because of the importance to safety, and in order not to hamper technical progress. See MSC.1/Circ.1393.

In case of replacement the following steps have to be completed:

The shipowner selects a new LRRS in agreement with the lifeboat manufacturer (icw compatibility).

The shipowner submits the folowing information/documentation to RO:

Details of proposed replacement LRRS including type approval certificate;

Engineering analysis;

Evaluation of relevant factors;

Amended operating- and training manuals;

Identification and evidence of competence of the person responsible for design appraisal, installation and post-installation testing.

The manufacturer test the installation and post-installation of the replacement LRRS witnessed by RO.

The RO Issues a Statement of Acceptance.

With reference to the above NSI has included an instruction to RO’s (ItoRO nr.20) in Netherlands Regulatory Framework (NeRF).