A question about lifeboats


L. Colombo

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Nov 22, 2012
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Since some days I've been wondering about a thing. I recently read that, according to the current SOLAS, passenger ships should have lifeboats (not liferafts) for at least 75 % of the passengers. As far as I know, this rule is respected on all cruise ships. But is it applied also to ferries? I noticed that ferries seem to have lifeboats for less than 75 % of the passengers. I'll give some examples with Italian ferries (myself being Italian). Among the most important Italian ferries companies there are Tirrenia, Moby Lines, Grimaldi, Grandi Navi Veloci. Here are some of the more recent ships of these companies:

Moby Wonder (2001): 2200 passengers, four lifeboats plus two smaller lifeboats.
Moby Aki (2005): 2200 passengers, four lifeboats plus two fast rescue boats.
Moby Tommy (2002): 2200 passengers, six lifeboats plus two fast rescue boats.
Nuraghes/Sharden (2004/2005): 3000 passengers, six lifeboats plus two fast rescue boats.
Bithia/Janas/Athara (2001/2003): 2780 passengers, six lifeboats plus two fast rescue boats.
La Superba/La Suprema (2002/2003): 2920 passengers, eight lifeboats plus two fast rescue boats.
Cruise Roma/Cruise Barcelona (2007/2008): 2300 passengers, six lifeboats plus two fast rescue boats.

I don't know how many places are there in fast rescue boats or smaller lifeboats, but a nomal lifeboats has 150 places, as far as I know. Now, It seems to me that most of these ships has lifeboats for far less than 75 % of the passengers. Leaving apart fast rescue boats and smaller lifeboats:

Moby Wonder: 2200 passengers, 600 places on lifeboats.
Moby Aki: 2200 passengers, 600 places on lifeboats.
Moby Tommy: 2200 passengers, 900 places on lifeboats.
Nuraghes/Sharden: 3000 passengers, 900 places on lifeboats.
Bithia/Janas/Athara: 2780 passengers, 900 places on lifeboats.
La Superba/La Suprema: 2920 passengers, 1200 places on lifeboats.
Cruise Roma/Cruise Barcelona: 2300 passengers, 900 places on lifeboats.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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That's right! Ferries don't have to meet the requirements for ocean-going ships, in spite of the fact that some are around the size of Titanic.

Ocean-goers must meet the 75% rule or they can't sail. Some exceed it by quite a lot.
 

L. Colombo

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Nov 22, 2012
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I noticed that ferries operating in straits, such as Pride of Canterbury/Pride of Kent (2000 passengers) and Spirit of Britain/Spirit of France (2000 passengers) in the English channel, or Scilla/Villa/Logudoro (1200 passengers) in the Strait of Messina, have not lifeboats at all, except for two or four fast rescue boats. They are equipped only with liferafts and with the 'MES' system (some of the more recent use only MES system, without even davit-launched liferafts). What are the rules for ferries?
 

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