FROM HOOK TO BEAK ON LIFEBOAT
The Alexander Kielland accident from 1980, where 123 perished, is a nightmare in Norwegian maritime history, also seen from the lifeboat angle. The housing platform had a strong stroke before it canted. The steep angle led to the fact that the lifeboat hooks on the one hand did not dissipate. The lifeboats were hanging in the loose air with crew on board before the crossing. After the accident, new demands came on lifeboat hooks.
In 2017, lifeboat hooks are still a challenge. The virgin silage to the world’s largest cruise ship “Harmony of the Seas” in 2016 resulted in a fatal accident while practicing lifeboats.
-IMO (International Maritime Organization) has introduced a rule saying that lifeboats can be without crew during rescue exercises due to many accidents. Often, there are hooks that cause problems when the lifeboats are set and retrieved.
Together with designer Ragnar Jørgensen in MSI, Christensen has been the main engine for project Njord LRRS from the drawing board and up to commercialization. Important co-players along the way have been Notech AS in Sandefjord, the Faroe Line shipping company and Sjøredningsskolen, Innovation Norway and Norwegian Research Council.
Beak and catapult
There are about 90 lifeboat hooks on the market. Common to the majority of the hooks is that they need a certain load to be triggered. Managers of lifeboats who have come to the water without the hook have been triggered have had to resort to ax and others to get away from crisis situations.
-In traditional hooks, the ring, or the “eye”, as we call it, must be tilted out of the hook. A handle must be made to loosen or fasten the hook, called the Onload Release. The weight of the lifeboat rests on the rocker. This construction has caused slipping where the lifeboat is triggered prematurely, or not at all, explains Svein Erik Foldnes, safety inspector and rescue exercises in Color Line.
The company has participated in the development phase of the hook in an IFU subproject (industrial / public research and development projects), which triggered funds from Innovation Norway.
“Our sailors, with wide experience from many different types of ships and waters, made themselves available and participated in the development work. Jørgensen, Christensen and Notech people participated in rescue exercises and broke their ideas on us. The final product is quite different from the drawing we first got presented.
-The beak / our hook is locked. There are no moving parts. Everything is solid and rigid. The combined mechanism, which both locks and fixes the party to the lifeboat, is unloaded.
– Even if the lifeboat should hang vertically in a hook (beak) due to damage from explosion or fire, the trigger mechanism will work and the lifeboat will come on the water. The lifeboat can also trigger the rings manually.
-The solution ensures the crew. Traditionally, the lifeboat would work with the chest box against the hook. We have turned the entire hook to minimize the risk of damage.
In the premises of Notech AS in Sandefjord the test rig stands with two hooks after thousands of tests. On the table is the folder with approved test results from DNV – GL. The patent is formally in order. A bunch of major international players have reported interest. 2018 will be an exciting year. Commercialization of the hook opens a new chapter.
Maybe someone wants to swallow the product with skin and hair, maybe with us on the team, or we’ll continue in a business to business model. We’ll see.
The Norse God Njord, the seafarers’ protector, is back in salt water.
-Njord was the god sailors turned for a safe sail in the old days. Njord was unhappily married to the goddess of Skade, who lived in the mountains. He missed the sea.
We bring Njord back the sea.