Wind turbine potential for emergency ladder

Tue, 12 February 2013

A Fibrelight Emergency Ladder was successfully deployed and tested lst month on board a MOL LNG vessel at the Isle of Grain

A new development in emergency ladders, which has just been granted the SOLAS Certificate of Type Approval SAS S120038 by Lloyd’s Register, could be fitted to offshore wind turbines, providing a means of disembarking following damage to fixed ladders.

Berkshire UK based Fibrelight Developments, which received the Type Approval for its Emergency Ladder following exacting testing, also received a certificate for its development at the recent Safety at Sea Awards 2012 and a provisional order conditional on obtaining SOLAS Approval was confirmed by MOL LNG.

“SOLAS certification is vital, said Fibrelight director Pat Hobbs. “SOLAS Chapter III, 31.1.4 and MSC.1/Circ. 1234 now requires all cargo ships with more than 100m from stem or stern to the closest survival craft, to carry remote liferafts and a means of disembarkation enabling descent to the water in a controlled manner. The use of a knotted rope is no longer approved.

“This is where our Fibrelight Emergency Ladder comes into its own. As a natural step-action is involved, this double rung ladder is considerably easier, safer and faster to climb, and especially to descend, than the equivalent single rung ladder.

 “The Concordia disaster earlier this year demonstrated how the Fibrelight Emergency Ladder could also form an important safety addition on passenger ships, he added. “In an emergency it would enable passengers to descend from deck to water level. If the vessel was listing, the ladder would provide direct descent to the water on one side, and support for passengers walking down the topside on the other.”

The ladder is strong, compact, lightweight and durable. Its patented construction of woven polyester webbing is reinforced with carbon fibre rods. The rod is enclosed in flanged tubular webbing which is fitted into, and stitched between, the double thickness pockets of the vertical webbing. In this way the loading is fully supported within the vertical members of the ladder.

The ladder can be loaded in both directions. It is 600mm wide and comes in lengths from 3m to 30m. A 30m ladder weighs just 25kg and there are no metal parts.

“The ISO 799 strength test really put the ladder through its paces, continued Pat Hobbs. “Successive rungs had to be loaded to 900kg plus, and sustained for one minute without failure. The construction was also tested and approved for thermal ageing, weathering, UV light, oil resistance and practical performance.

“The order from MOL LNG is the result of trials of the Fibrelight Emergency Ladder earlier this year. At the end of January one of our ladders was successfully deployed and tested on board a MOL LNG vessel at the Isle of Grain.”

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