Information on Ingress of Water in Immersion Suits due to Deteriorated Glue

This incident information refers to ingress of water in immersion suits as a result of deteriorated glue. During survey for renewal of the Safety Equipment Certificate it was observed leakage on some of the immersion suits. The zipper had become detached from the suit in various places. The same was found at the connection of gloves to the suit. The immersion suits were estimated to be less than 10 years old.

2013.06.07 - Information on Ingress of Water in Immersion Suits due to Deteriorated Glue Figure 1

The damage was in this case restricted to the number of damaged immersion suits. However, the life sustaining properties in an emergency would be reduced significantly, as leakage would reduce the thermal protection and also affect the floating position in a negative way.

The glue connecting the gloves and zipper to the suit might have aged and lost its function.

2013.06.07 - Information on Ingress of Water in Immersion Suits due to Deteriorated Glue Figure 2

Incidents like these draw the attention to the following:

  • Lifetime varies widely. The rate and severity of deterioration of an immersion suit may vary widely and depends on the construction, storage conditions and the extent of use. Leaky immersion or antiexposure suits do not fulfill SOLAS requirements.
  • Maintenance. All life-saving appliances shall be maintained on-board in accordance with instructions. The maintenance of immersion suits should include verifying the watertight integrity of the suits. Consideration should also be given to IMO’s guidelines recommending that each suit is subject to an air pressure test.
  • Monthly inspection on board. Monthly inspection of life-saving appliances shall be carried out on-board by using a check list to ensure that they are complete and in order.
  • External support. If competence or equipment for certain parts of maintenance or testing is lacking onboard, support from maker’s representative or a qualified service company should be requested.

Source: DNV

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