New GRP Survival Lifeboats From OME Withstand 1,000° C

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—Literature Available Halmalic Ltd., a leading United Kingdom GRP boatbuilding company, recently was chosen by Offshore Marine Engineering Ltd. to mould a range of self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboats (SPHL) for completion in OME's specialist facilities at Walsall, West Midlands, U.K. Called the OME/Aqua Phoenix SPHL, these purpose-designed vessels are for the evacuation of up to 18 divers under pressure from diving support vessels, platforms or rigs involved in the offshore oil and gas industries. The design, by Offshore Marine Engineering, meets all existing and proposed safety-at-sea regulations, including the amended SOLAS rules and national requirements of the U.K., Netherlands, Norway and U.S.

These specialized lifeboats, moulded with fire-retardant resins throughout, consist of a totally enclosed GRP hull and canopy with full life support facilities for a five-day endurance of up to 18 divers under pressure, plus an additional four-man crew to provide round-the-clock attention.

One of the main features of the Phoenix design is the water deluge system which pumps seawater through a series of nozzles at a rate of 1,000 liters per minute on to the GRP canopy, protecting both the craft and its occupants from intense heat and possible burning during evacuation. This feature, combined with an integral air system for the crew and the engine, enables the vessel to operate in a fire or gas cloud for a minimum of 10 minutes. In a recent test, a Phoenix SPHL lasted more than 13 minutes in a fire of free-burning kerosene at over 1,000° C. The GRP hull and canopy remained intact and undamaged, according to the company. During this ordeal, the internal temperature remained at 28° C—a testimony to both OME design and Halmatic high quality mouldings.

The Phoenix design is also available as a conventional totally enclosed GRP lifeboat.

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