"I’ve been on vessels to conduct functional tests on evacuation slides with crew members, so I’ve seen the safety equipment in use, and I know what is important in an emergency situation. We always have this in mind when servicing the liferafts,” says Kent Jytzler.
“The rescue quoit (throw ring) for people from the water into a liferaft must be readily accessible. The flashlight must be on top in the emergency pack, and seasickness medicine must also be immediately available, because passengers need to take it as soon as they board the liferaft. When I service a liferaft, I always imagine that I am onboard the vessel. This is the easiest way to understand how important the things you are working with really are,” adds Kent Bjerrum.
Testing and ever-alert technicians
As part of the service inspection, the CO2 cylinder that inflates the liferaft is dismounted from the liferaft and tested, and then remounted. The liferaft is then inflated with air, and the pressure is measured in both tubes. The liferaft is tested in accordance with international rules that require testing at different intervals.
All davit-launched liferafts are loadtested at every other service inspection, while S30 liferafts are tested at every service inspection. Ballast tubes are placed in the liferaft and filled with water to a weight that corresponds with the liferaft’s capacity. The liferaft is lifted by crane, and all vital parts are inspected.
The visual inspection and overall impression of the liferaft are of great importance at every step of the servicing process. The service technicians keep a sharp eye on every liferaft until the compressor has extracted all air from the tubes and the liferaft is packed into its container. Only then is the job done.
“When I started at VIKING, it was a different and smaller company. When I talk about our work here now, it is much broader and on a completely different scale. We’re really busy from October to May, with a lot of overtime, and I take more time off in the summer. In that sense, the job is very flexible,” says 56-year-old Kent Jytzler, who has worked at VIKING for more than 30 years.
He joined VIKING in 1987 and quickly became a part of the service team. In 1991, he specialized in servicing marine evacuation systems (MES), including evacuation slides and chutes for large passenger and cruise ships. Alongside his career at VIKING, he was also a part-time firefighter at the former Falck station that has housed VIKING’s servicing station since fall 2020. In his free time, Kent cycles avidly in Denmark and abroad, including the 174 km French race La Marmotte and its 5 km of mountain climbs. “You should also mention that I have three children and seven grandchildren,” says Kent.
His colleague, Kent Bjerrum, is a 28-year-old father of two who doesn’t get out on his mountain bike or race with his RC cars quite as much as he used to. He joined VIKING in 2012 and just a few months later began servicing liferafts.