Autolaunch escape slides for new ferry

Survitec Zodiac products for Baltic Workboats Survitec Zodiac products for Baltic Workboats

SurvitecZodiac has received an important order for its Autolaunch escape systems and liferafts from Baltic Workboats in Nasva, Estonia.

The systems are being installed aboard the first of two new vessels being built for the Swedish transport authority’s ferry company, Färjerederiet. The new ferry is due for completion this year and with a length of 100 metres and a beam of 18 metres the new ships are the largest built at the Estonian yard. They will have the capacity to carry up to 297 passengers and 80 cars along routes on Swedish waterways.

When the ferries enter service they will operate with just a three man crew. With this number of crew, the pressure of other emergency duties can make it difficult for them to prepare, launch and bowse a liferaft and its slide. To overcome this problem the Autolaunch escape slides and liferafts can be deployed at the touch of a button in the wheelhouse when they will become fully inflated and ready for use in less than two minutes. The design of the Autolaunch system can also save vital minutes in an emergency by enabling multiple slides and rafts to be deployed simultaneously.

The SurvitecZodiac Autolaunch evacuation systems will consequently be an important feature of the ferry’s operational capability. By eliminating the need for any crew intervention, the Autolaunch systems will make it possible to operate safely in the extreme conditions that can sometimes be encountered on Baltic routes.

The Autolaunch systems include an open reversible liferaft capable of carrying 151 people. Passengers will be able to board the rafts via short, 1.7 metre escape slides which are quickly inflated when activated from the ship’s bridge. The Autolaunch slides supplied have been specifically designed for use by passenger vessels with low freeboard where there is a need to rapidly transfer large numbers of people into liferafts. Although a ship with low freeboard may appear to be relatively easy to abandon, it can still be a time-consuming challenge for passengers unfamiliar with such activity. A slide is a safe, simple and speedy way of moving a large number of people from one location to another and is therefore the ideal solution for a ferry. The system also includes a pull-up bar which allows disabled persons to access the slide even from a wheelchair while very young, aged or infirm persons can be assisted down the slide by another person.

The slides and rafts for Baltic Workboats are being manufactured at the SurvitecZodiac factory in Chevanceaux, France. This is one of the most advanced factories in the Survitec Group which is a leading innovator in rescue system technology. The group’s product portfolio includes some of the most reputable brands in the safety and survival equipment industry.

By Dag Pike

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