Having recently claimed that it is ‘more than ready’ to help shipowners meet the demands of the new IMO Polar Code, VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has introduced the patented VIKING VEC Plus Polar, a Polar ready marine evacuation system (MES).
“Based on the new generation of patented Plus series VIKING MES launched last year, the VEC Plus Polar is a first-of-its-kind chute-based marine evacuation solution focused on technical simplicity, reliability under harsh conditions and a user-centric design,” claimed Niels Fraende, VIKING’s Vice President, Cruise & LifeCraft. “Business is booming in the cruise shipping industry, and when it comes to newbuilds, we see a clear twofold trend. On one side, we have the extremely large cruise ships catered for by our VEDC and eventually LifeCraft systems; on the other, we have a host of smaller expedition class vessels set to navigate exotic yet potentially hazardous waters, such as those surrounding the two Poles. The new VEC Plus Polar is a perfect match for the latter type, including all the IACS PC-6 Class, Polar Code Category B vessels that will be leaving shipyards in the years to come.”
VIKING VEC Plus Polar can be installed on board any larger passenger vessel, whether as an integrated part of a newbuilding design, as a one-to-one replacement for an earlier generation VIKING system, or as a custom retrofit solution.
The system contains 40% fewer mechanical components than earlier MES designs and has advantages and integrated cost-efficiencies for installation and servicing, the company said. For instance, the system only requires land-based servicing every 30 months, severely reducing costs related to administration and logistics.
However, the most important features of the new system are those relating to safety. Fraende explained; “Firstly, we ice-test the VEC Plus Polar at -30 deg C to ensure that it will work at the Polar Service Temperature of -20 deg C typically required for PC-6 Class ships.
“Released by gravity and featuring measures for controlled descent, the system will launch safely onto ice as well as water. In addition, based on our extensive experience including recent findings from the SARex I and II expeditions in Svalbard, the entire system, including the associated liferafts, has been modified and reinforced to match the extreme conditions under which it may be required to save lives. This includes measures to store Polar Code mandatory personal and group survival kits (PSK and GSK) along with rations for five-day survival directly at the MES station.
“They say preparation is the key to success, and that couldn’t be more true for our current portfolio of Polar safety products. Being born and bred in the Nordic region, serving offshore, commercial and passenger shipping operators in the likes of Greenland, Iceland, the Northern Baltic and Barents Sea, we’ve had more time than most to carefully analyse, learn and eventually qualify our offerings for the special demands of such regions. A lot has been learned along the way and today we’re proud to run a one-stop-shop for those who require Polar Code safety compliance,” Fraende concluded.