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Lifting frame detached from fast rescue craft (FRC)

What happened

IMCA has received information relating to an incident in which a lifting frame became detached from a fast rescue craft (FRC) during operations. 

The incident occurred when the FRC was attempting to come alongside a vessel in good weather with choppy seas.  During recovery, the complete lifting frame detached from the boat. No one ended up in the water, but one member of the boat crew was pulled up with the lifting frame and fell down into the boat. The crew member sustained only minor injuries. An investigation and checkup of similar boats revealed cracks around the lifting frames.

This was considered a high potential incident with a potential outcome of multiple fatalities had the frame come loose later in the recovery operation.

What went wrong?

  • Investigation uncovered cracks, delamination and potential weaknesses in the structure of the anchoring of the lifting frame on this type of FRC.

Lessons learned

  • Surface cracks are early signs, but it is very difficult to assess severity and any potential delamination as the attachment of the lifting frame is inside the hull.


In this case, a management decision was taken to cease use of this specific type of FRC and notify the manufacturer immediately.  Members may wish to:

  • Inspect all FRC, lifeboats and workboats lifting frames and attachments;
  • Ensure that there is an appropriate focus on inspection and the detection of cracks in planned maintenance systems.

Members may wish to refer to:

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.