Cracks in watercraft OEM maintenance pennants

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Alert ID: 
Description of Process: 

Text Box:  Mills Fall Protection Device cracks


Target audience for this alert

  • OIMs on installations fitted with Mills release gear and FPDs

  • Lifeboats Technical Authorities and maintainers

  • Installation Inspectors


Lessons learned

  • The failure is currently believed to relate solely to Mills OEM equipment.

Description of Incident: 

During routine 5-yearly NDT inspection, cracks were found in the bottom fork of the FPDs fitted to the Mills release gear on Watercraft lifeboats.  Further investigation revealed similar failures on other boats fitted with this combination of equipment.


Why it happened

It is not currently known what the cause of the cracking is. Investigations are continuing.

Good Practice Guidance: 

Actions – Do not load the lifeboat with pennants in place until these actions have been completed

Installations or vessels with Watercraft lifeboats should confirm whether Mills release gear is fitted to the lifeboats; arrange for NDT inspection of the bottom forks of the pennants; arrange for pennants with cracks to be removed from service and replacement pennants sourced via the Lifeboats maintenance provider.

Causes and consequences of incident or accident: 
Handling, lifting or carrying
Cause and consequence of incident or accident, if not listed above: 
Cause unknown. Consequences - unable to undrtake maintenance for 3 weeks
Contributing factor: 
Change management
Contact Details (Optional): 
Alastair Mudie, Tech Safety Discipline Lead, Shell U.K. Ltd -