VIKING’s arctic suit triumphs over extreme temperatures
A long-time favorite of mariners facing arctic survival risks, VIKING’s PS5002 immersion suit has been upgraded and independently tested at temperatures as low as -62.6 degrees Celsius.
Marine and fire safety equipment leader VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has released the latest model of its popular polar-conditions immersion suit, the VIKING PS5002. The suit’s launch was preceded by one of the most rigorous sub-zero tests ever conducted on this type of personal protection equipment (PPE).
“The PS5002 is a very popular suit that has been proven in polar conditions during many years in the field,” says Jens Peter Kruse, VIKING’s Vice President for PPE. “Now, with many of our customers expanding their operations into extremely cold regions, we’ve upgraded both the suit’s capabilities and the tests we subject it to.
”Designed to be worn without a lifejacket, the latest PS5002 features a double layer of insulation - compared with standard immersion suits – that offers protection from extreme cold. The integrated inherent buoyancy keeps as much of the wearer’s body as possible clear of the icy water and the suit can therefore be worn without a lifejacket.
The design extends the length of time the wearer can be expected to survive, providing valuable extra time for search and rescue teams to locate and assist survivors. Also new to the PS5002 is VIKING’s outstanding high visibility yellow, which is particularly useful for rescue teams attempting to spot survivors at dawn or dusk against the sea as a background. Both the extended survival time and higher visibility can be decisive factors in a part of the world that experiences around-the-clock darkness for much of the year.
For Jens Peter Kruse, the suit’s on-going design brief is clear: “In polar conditions, when you need safety equipment, you need it to be fully functional and donned quickly and safely. It’s got to allow as much time as possible to be rescued, and it should make you really stand out. And having to don only one item instead of two, as is the case for standard immersion suits that must be worn with a lifejacket, may turn out to be crucial for raising your chances of survival.”
Cold donning test
According to SOLAS guidelines, an immersion suit of this type should be capable of being donned in 5 minutes or less at temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius (2 minutes in regular temperatures). VIKING chose, however, to put its product to a far more demanding test, reflecting the realities of the toughest and most dangerous Polar regions. The packed PS5002 immersion suit was refrigerated at -60 degrees Celsius for 24 hours before being removed and donned by a test person wearing approved test clothing. In every case, the suit was able to be donned well within the allotted time.
“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been attempted before by any manufacturer.”
The extreme test temperatures also reflect the need for PPE equipment to withstand being stored in a container on deck. Following testing, each suit was assessed for signs of damage, including cracking dissolution or changes in mechanical qualities. No such damage was discovered.
VIKING is the only marine safety equipment manufacturer able to offer a full package of products for polar conditions, ranging from suits and lifejackets to liferafts, containers and auxiliary equipment. The upgraded PS5002 is the latest in a line-up of innovations keeping VIKING’s range up to speed with developments in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. VIKING PS5002 fulfills the requirements of Resolution MSC.81(70) "Revised Recommendation on Testing of Life-Saving Appliances" including the amendments MSC.200(80), MSC.226(82) and MSC.323(89) and LSA code 2010 edition.