VIKING Life-Saving Equipment A/S, renowned global safety products manufacturer and service provider, has announced the first flag state approval of its entire VIKING LifeCraft system, meaning the inflatable and electrically powered evacuation solution is now cleared for installation on ships around the world. VIKING LifeCraft system The stamp of approval was issued by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) on August 23, 2019. This follows earlier approval of key components of the system, such as the Survival Craft, as part of the innovative system’s development journey. Full commercial availability of the triple award-winning VIKING LifeCraft is set to follow within a few months of the breakthrough approval. The VIKING solution has been approved as a novel life-saving appliance system, a well-understood and accepted category in the maritime industry. The novel life-saving appliance designation reflects the dual nature of the VIKING LifeCraft system, which breaks the mold by making it possible to replace current lifeboat and life-raft evacuation options with a superior, hybrid solution. Life-saving appliance system This is the first time a complete, and completely innovative, evacuation solution has fallen under this category ”The LifeCraft system goes far beyond the capabilities of existing evacuation solutions and I am very proud of my team and our achievements,” says VIKING CEO, Henrik Uhd Christensen. While the VIKING LifeCraft system is a completely new and innovative product, it is based on well-proven technologies and extensive series of tests. And, while most maritime safety products and systems that achieved novel life-saving appliance approvals to date have been adaptations or variations of conventional life-saving appliances, this is the first time a complete, and completely innovative, evacuation solution has fallen under this category. Innovative design and technology integration “Everyone in the industry knows that novel life-saving equipment requires strict alternative design studies and documentation that can show their superiority to existing life-saving appliances,” said Niels Fraende, Vice President of Sales – Cruise & LifeCraft, at VIKING, adding “We’ve certainly gone the distance with the new system, setting new standards for our design and testing activities throughout the process.” The LifeCraft system has a capacity to save 812 people and consists of two main elements: Inflatable VIKING LifeCraft survival crafts, and a fully self-contained stowage and launching appliance that can either be placed on deck or built into the ship’s side. Highly maneuverable survival crafts With four independent electric engines at its corners, each survival craft is highly maneuverable Every system is equipped with four survival crafts holding 203 persons each. With four independent electric engines at its corners, each survival craft is highly maneuverable and its ability to quickly turn 360 degrees is unmatched by conventional motor-propelled survival crafts. The design feature is just one of many innovations that showcase how the LifeCraft system exceeds the capabilities of existing evacuation solutions. Maritime and offshore safety expert “We expected the final approval process to go every bit as smoothly as the previous novel life-saving approval, and it did,” says VIKING CEO, Henrik Uhd Christensen, adding “And this achievement comes at a perfect time, considering the amount of interest cruise ship-owners are showing in getting this new evacuation solution installed and operational." "Now they can take their plans for incorporating VIKING LifeCraft into both new builds and existing ships to the next level.”
With the newly combined VIKING and Norsafe portfolio, along with the flag approval of the revolutionary LifeCraft survival craft as a novel life-saving appliance, cruise and expedition operators have never had more - or better - evacuation options on show at Seatrade Cruise Global 2019. Visitors to Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida, can experience the expanded lineups of VIKING Norsafe lifeboats, rescue boats, daughter craft and launching appliances, in addition to VIKING liferafts and marine evacuation systems - all complete with global servicing and training capabilities. Heavy Weather Sea Trial (HSWT) The new enhanced setup is partly brought about by the 2018 acquisition of renowned lifeboat maker Norsafe. The 116-year-old Norway-based boat builder is famed for its lifeboats, rescue craft and davits, all of which are now under the VIKING Norsafe brand. Creating VIKING’s new product family has significantly strengthened ship-owners one-stop access to lifeboats and rescue boats especially well-suited for expedition cruise vessels. The VIKING Norsafe offering covers a range of boats, davits and hooks, accompanied by total care servicing unmatched in the marketplace. For example, it provides more options for servicing multi-brand boats and davits, enabling cruise and ferry operators to have all their safety equipment service managed through a single, global supplier with all the expertise and quality of an OEM. VIKING LifeCraft rescue/survival boats VIKING LifeCraft new system unites modern lifeboats benefits, such as self-propelled maneuverability with comfort As an absolute highlight of the VIKING lineup at Seatrade Cruise Global, cruise ship owners will be interested to hear that the Danish Maritime Authority has now officially approved the VIKING LifeCraft survival craft as a novel life-saving appliance, meeting the requirements for replacing conventional lifeboats on passenger ships. The approval follows successful heavy weather trials in November last year. The VIKING LifeCraft new system unites the advantages of modern lifeboats, such as self-propelled maneuverability, with the flexibility, comfort and smaller footprint of today’s liferafts combined with marine evacuation systems. VIKING Norsafe Minima 88 “Cruise ship operators worldwide can now take advantage of all the safety and efficiency related benefit this new hybrid – designed, in fact, to replace lifeboats/liferafts – has to offer,” commented Niels Fraende, VP of Cruise and LifeCraft with VIKING Another highlight of the new product range is the VIKING Norsafe Minima 88 – a sleek and efficient partially enclosed lifeboat (PELB) designed and manufactured according to the latest SOLAS and national authority requirements. A great choice several types of passenger vessels and not least for expedition cruise ships, special attention has been paid to seating, height and 360-degree visibility for safe embarkation and operation. Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 VIKING representatives will be available on stand 1867 at Seatrade Cruise Global 2019 to discuss the company’s evacuation solutions, safety products and global safety agreements.
Rough seas with wave heights up to 50% above the stipulated heavy weather testing requirements proved no obstacle for VIKING’s innovative LifeCraft™ system, paving the way for cruise ship operators worldwide to benefit from all the advantages that this new hybrid - intended to replace lifeboats/liferafts - has to offer. It is considered to be the most exciting innovation in passenger evacuation systems in decades – and now, despite unusually challenging test conditions, the VIKING LifeCraft™ system has passed an important milestone in its journey to commercial use following the conclusion of a demanding full-scale Heavy Weather Sea Trial (HWST). Maritime safety equipment Developed and extensively tested by maritime safety equipment and servicing provider VIKING Life-saving Equipment over the past 10 years, the new evacuation system unites the advantages of modern lifeboats – such as self-propelled maneuverability – with the flexibility, comfort and smaller footprint of current liferafts combined with marine evacuation systems. Four inflatable VIKING LifeCraft™ survival crafts each with a capacity of 203 persons The solution comprises two main elements: four inflatable VIKING LifeCraft™ survival crafts each with a capacity of 203 persons, so 812 in total, and a fully self-contained stowage and launching appliance either placed on deck or built into the ship’s side. And it’s packed with a long list of innovations that take the system far beyond the capabilities of existing lifeboats, marine evacuation systems or liferafts. Simulated dead ship condition “The HWST involved launching and testing how well the LifeCraft™ system performs in high winds, stormy seas and extreme weather conditions,” explains Niels Fraende, VP Cruise & LifeCraft™. “We launched the LifeCraft™ with the ship heading 3 knots up against the wind, exposing the system to the full force of the fierce weather in the most critical test phase. We then demonstrated – with a simulated dead ship condition – that the fully loaded LifeCraft™ system provides a safe and stable means of evacuation in both the weather and lee side for several hours.” “In addition, we quickly and successfully maneuvered the LifeCraft™ survival crafts on both sides of the vessel to a safe distance, demonstrating their built-in flexibility to move rescue-capacity to wherever it is most needed. Simulating station-keeping while waiting for rescue, we performed a 24-hour controlled drift test in the battering seas with no damage sustained to the survival crafts.” Battling sea-Sickness Heavy weather is exactly what nature delivered at the testing location on the North Sea between southern Norway and United Kingdom. In fact, after being ballasted with 70 tons to simulate full capacity, the LifeCraft™ was subjected to brutal wind gusts with speeds of up to 18 m/s in addition to significant wave heights of between 3.6 and 4.6 meters. Niels Fraende is elated that the LifeCraft™ system performs so well under such demanding conditions Towering peak waves of 10 meters greatly exceeded the required 3 meters needed for the trials, with the personnel from VIKING and DNV GL battling sea-sickness and heaving decks to conclude the tests. The HWST consisted of multiple phases, all of which were witnessed and approved by the attending DNV GL senior surveyor acting on behalf of the Danish Maritime Authority. And, with the toughest test ever behind VIKING, Niels Fraende is elated that the LifeCraft™ system performs so well under such demanding conditions. Providing exceptional stability “The LifeCraft™ exhibited superior maneuverability, sailing away from the ship much faster than required. We achieved this with the wind at our front as well as our backs, which makes it an even more impressive feat,” says Niels Fraende. The tests demonstrated, too, that the system’s flexible chute arrangement could easily cope with the ship’s list and trim, providing exceptional stability despite the highly dynamic sea state. With its four electric motors, one positioned at each corner, the fully loaded LifeCraft™ was swiftly maneuvered to a safe position within minutes of disengagement from its position along the ship’s side. The trial afforded crew members the opportunity to demonstrate, under extreme conditions, the capability of the chute arrangements that provide a controlled vertical passage from the embarkation point to the LifeCraft™ survival crafts. All landed safely in the LifeCraft™ unit at the expected evacuation speed, dry and unbrushed by the elements. Inflatable survival crafts The VIKING LifeCraft™ system’s development journey began in 2009. Over the best part of a decade more than 50 prototypes were created and put through their paces undergoing a battery of tests, which, among other punishments, employed jet engines to assess how well they stood up to 150 km/h winds. The four inflatable survival crafts are powered by electric motors instead of diesel-driven units Crucially, the four inflatable survival crafts are powered by electric motors instead of diesel-driven units. These not only enable excellent maneuverability for reaching a safe position or for rescuing passengers or ship personnel in the water, but are quieter in operation and more reliable, requiring far less maintenance. They also pose less of a fire risk and reduce evacuees’ exposure to harmful fumes. Inside, there’s strong focus on comfort, with triple the air space of existing lifeboat solutions, for example, and a novel natural ventilation system. Allowing greater flexibility From a ship design perspective, the system is a significant space-saver, taking up around 25% of the necessary deck space compared to the equivalent capacity in lifeboats. This compact footprint is in itself a compelling argument for cruise ships as it frees up space for additional berths or passenger amenities. Furthermore, by enabling the positioning of evacuation capacity on both sides of a ship, something which simply isn't possible with conventional lifeboats, the system surpasses SOLAS requirements and allows greater overall flexibility in vessel design.