• Home
  • News
  • Viking's lifeCraft passes toughest ever test at sea
  • 2018 November 22 15:21

    Viking's lifeCraft passes toughest ever test at sea

    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, VIKING Life-saving Equipment says in a press release.

    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).

    Developed and extensively tested by leading 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 today’s liferafts combined with marine evacuation systems.

    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.

    “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.”

    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.

    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.

    “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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    With heavy weather sea trials now complete, all that remains are a few tests of the system’s container, along with documentation and final approval by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA). Soon, therefore, the VIKING LifeCraft™ system will be ready to be incorporated into new and existing vessels to provide an entirely new level of passenger safety.


2022 January 28

18:30 Smooth Ports completes the first project phase of the project
18:12 Two oil garbage disposal vessels put into operation in Novorossiysk
18:05 MOL and Mitsui sign time charter contract for LNG carrier
17:56 Finnlines upgrades its Finland–Sweden route
17:36 NRP Maritime Asset Management announces launching and first close of Premium Maritime Credit Fund
17:26 NYK and Uyeno Group form capital and business alliance
17:06 UPM sets its sights on Rotterdam for new biorefinery
16:51 New fairway drafts offer shipping greater flexibility on Lower and Outer Elbe
16:41 GCT Bayonne orders Konecranes Noell Sprinter Carriers
16:31 ZIM provides update on operational cooperation agreement with the 2M Partners
16:21 ENEA and Fincantieri team up for energy, environment, and circular economy
16:15 Furetank orders new climate friendly tanker for a green fleet
16:10 MAN Energy Solutions delivers engines to Chantiers de l’Atlantique
15:57 USCG intercepts 191 Haitians near Bahamas
15:55 Project cargo on the rise at Port of Antwerp thanks to EU Green Deal
14:26 Tenders for dredging and cleaning of Saint-Petersburg waterways to be announced by ad hoc municipal committee
14:03 Damen Shipyards to build four RoPax ferries for Penang Port, Malaysia
13:41 Nefteflot lays down survey ship of Project RDB 66.62
13:27 Ulstein awarded offshore wind ship design contract for Shanghai Electric and ZPMC
12:34 Universe Shipping opts for RMS 2000 V-rotor systems from Damen Marine Components
12:02 EST-Floattech delivers battery systems to 3 Damen Patrol Vessels 1304 Electric
11:30 KSK Grain Terminal handles grain vessel of 120,000 tons in capacity
11:01 MarineMax reports record fiscal 2022 first quarter results
09:59 RF Navy's frigate Admiral Gorshkov practiced artillery firing in the Barents Sea
09:34 Baltic Dry Index as of January 27
09:16 Crude oil market sees upwards price correction
08:57 MABUX: No firm trend expected on Global bunker market on Jan 28

2022 January 27

18:35 ABP launches the first of its new tranche of port-manufacturing sites at Port of Hull
18:05 Indian Register of Shipping classes first 100 pax hybrid catamaran (battery powered) ferry
17:52 Onezhsky Shipyard launches lead crab catching ship built for Russian Crab Group
17:35 Kawasaki Heavy Industries announces delivery of LPG-fueled LPG carrier CRYSTAL TRINITY
17:05 NAPA and MOL roll out digital Navigational Risk Monitoring Solution on over MOL’s 700+ ships
16:45 Port of Antwerp, North Sea Port Flanders and Port of Zeebrugge launch the stimulus programme ‘Accelerating modal shift’
16:36 Construction of digital shipyard commenced at Onezhsky Shipbuilding, Ship Repair Yard
16:17 Suez Canal Economic Zone signs local and foreign contracts for Sokhna port new berths works
15:35 Construction of support fleet base in Ust-Luga approved by Glavgosexpertiza
15:32 ABS grants AIP to a coordinated design for a wind turbine installation vessel
15:14 Tarragona Port Authority has awarded Global Ports Holding a 12-year concession to manage the services for cruise passengers
15:00 Marine Rescue Service removed all oil products from Chinese ship Xing Yuan
14:53 Cooperation Agreement signed between ThPA S.A. and Suez Canal Economic Zone
14:42 DP World joins forces with Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping
14:32 A.P. Moller - Maersk shares millions of weather observations to aid climate science
14:22 IMB releases 2021 Piracy and Armed Robbery Report
14:04 FESCO launches regular container train from Vladivostok to Ulyanovsk
13:40 Swissterminal starts a new rail link between the port of Antwerp and Ottmarsheim
13:28 FESCO confirms compliance with standards for operation of vessels in US waters
13:03 Georgia Ports Authority tops 5.5M TEUs, 650K units in 2021
12:49 NYK delivers methanol-fueled chemical tanker
12:02 Throughput of Yeisk port in 2021 remained flat, year-on-year
11:30 Tallink Grupp’s vessel Baltic Queen heads to Naantali, Finland for regular dry-docking
10:56 Throughput of Temryuk port in 2021 rose by 10.3% YoY
10:37 MABUX: Bunker Weekly Outlook, Week 04, 2022
10:33 Haldor Topsoe becomes member of Hydrogen Council to promote green hydrogen solutions
09:48 Registration is underway for 5th Hydraulic Engineering and Dredging Congress
09:29 Baltic Dry Index as of January 26
09:12 Crude oil prices decrease on reduction of supply disruption risks
08:57 MABUX: Global bunker market to continue firm upward evolution on Jan 27

2022 January 26

18:06 Safe Bulkers announces agreement for the acquisition of one Capesize class dry-bulk Japanese vessel
17:54 Olga Naumova takes helm of Russian Fishery Company
17:41 Shearwater GeoServices awarded Western Australia multicomponent surveys by Santos