Shipowners today are benefiting from a new approach to marine evacuation system choices that takes a wider range of factors into account
Until quite recently, purchasing a marine evacuation system (MES) was mostly a matter of determining required capacity then working through the details of technical installation. The high costs and logistical hassles of maintaining such systems and training crew to use them were simply an unavoidable evil. Moreover, annual operating costs for marine evacuation systems could vary greatly – making detailed, accurate budgeting quite a challenge.
With new developments such as VIKING Life-Saving Equipment’s VEC Plus™ evacuation system, however, all that’s changed. Today, shipowners seeking to purchase an MES for a newbuild or to replace an existing system can choose a more holistic solution that helps to reduce lifetime costs of ownership.
According to VIKING vice president Niels Fraende, recent, fundamental design changes have been warmly welcomed in the world of MES solutions.
“We have amassed a great deal of learnings over decades of working in the field,” he said. “And we have MES products in place on hundreds of vessels around the world. That gives us detailed data on usage, wear and tear, operational aspects and servicing procedures. We put it all together to completely redesign our VIKING VEC evacuation system, challenging our engineers to come up with a radically different solution for better maintenance efficiency and cost-effectiveness.”
The result, the VIKING VEC Plus™, leaves no stone unturned. From storage systems to containers, to the underlying platform, fastenings and materials, every component has been thoroughly reviewed. With fewer technical components, and gravity-based and mechanical launching, the redesign offers fewer possibilities for failure – and less wear and tear, too. But the big news is focused on a well-recognised challenge: MES rotation.
In the past, shipowners have typically needed to rotate entire liferaft container systems for servicing or repair, requiring two MES investments – one on board, the other on land. Now, containers can simply be removed from the onboard storage unit – increasing access to repair individual components, reducing servicing costs and extending asset life.
Servicing regularity has also been sharply reduced from annual to every 2.5 years. And storage space requirements have been lowered, bringing increased flexibility to cater for vessels ranging from smaller ferries to large cruise liners.
24/7 onboard training
Last but not least, VIKING has included VIKING Saatsea 24/7 onboard computer-based training – a crew competency and certification management platform designed to help shipowners lift their training capabilities at sea.
VIKING VEC Plus™ systems can be covered by a VIKING Shipowner Agreement – a customisable concept that incorporates safety products, global servicing, single-source management, and financing in a variety of fixed price structures. For shipowners looking to upgrade from earlier VIKING MES equipment, the VEC Plus™ sports an identical footprint to its predecessor, the VIKING VEC™. And it can be deployed with either standard liferafts or liferafts with extended service intervals.