“The sea trial involved testing how well the LifeCraft™ system performs in high winds, stormy seas, and extreme weather conditions. 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 system provides a safe and stable means of evacuation in both the weather and lee side for several hours.”
Heavy weather sea trial facts
A sea trial requires considerable wave heights of at least 3.0 meters and a wind force of 6 on the Beaufort scale. VIKING strives for an average wave height of 3.5 meters and a wind force of 7-8 – otherwise known as a gale – for greater certainty that the weather conditions meet the SOLAS test requirements for several hours. A support ship accompanies the team in the test area and is responsible for ensuring that everything remains safe.
“In addition, we quickly and successfully maneuvered the LifeCraft™ survival craft 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 craft.”
Heavy weather is exactly what nature delivered at the testing location that we managed to track down in the North Sea between southern Norway and the 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.
... and the perfect storm
Towering peak waves of 10 meters greatly exceeded the required 3 meters needed for the trials, with the personnel from VIKING and DNV GL (attending on behalf of the Danish Maritime Authority) battling sea-sickness and heaving decks to conclude the tests.
The trial also afforded crew members the opportunity to demonstrate, under extreme conditions, the flexibility, and capability of the chute arrangements that provide a controlled vertical passage from the embarkation point to the survival craft. All landed safely at the expected evacuation speed, dry and unbrushed by the elements.