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Palfinger sets boarding record with 440-person lifeboat

Apr 26, 2017 02:42 PM

The new MPC 49 has been ordered for cruise ships being built by STX France

Courtesy Palfinger

The following is the text of a news release from Palfinger Marine:

(SEIMSFOSS, Norway) — The first full-scale boarding test of the world’s largest lifeboat, Palfinger Marine’s new flagship for the cruise industry, landed the company a new world record.

In 2015, Palfinger won a contract for delivery of 24 tenders, 12 lifeboats, 36 davits and six rescue boat stations to a series of cruise ships being built by STX France. The complete lifesaving package is now in production, and April 20 marked a huge milestone for the project: The crucial full-scale boarding test of the new MPC 49, the world’s largest and Palfinger’s flagship lifeboat.

Measuring 51 feet in length and 18 feet in width, the innovative lifeboat has a capacity of 440 people. It offers more seats than a jumbo jet. However, in an emergency size does not matter if the cruise passengers cannot get aboard in time, and class society DNV GL has set the time limit to 10 minutes.

Tension was noticeable as 200 employees and 240 local volunteers, ages 15 to 80, gathered inside Palfinger’s fabrication hall at Seimsfoss, Norway. Failing the test would be a huge setback for the project.

From an ad-hoc muster station, placed in exactly the same distance from the lifeboat as on a real cruise ship, the “passengers” moved orderly to the MPC 49, entered through the four entrances on two deck levels, and found their seating. The MPC 49 is the world’s first lifeboat with seating on two decks.

“Overall, the boarding test proved a huge success for the project. We set a record time of 5 minutes and 21 seconds, well within the time limit," Global Products Director Arild Lokoy said. “Before testing we were quite convinced that we would make it on time, but I must admit it is a huge relief to actually have demonstrated it to DNV GL and STX. Now we look forward to delivering these high-end lifeboats to the customer, and hope they are satisfied with our new flagship."

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