On 20 April 2017, the first full scale test of the world’s largest lifeboat took place in Norway. Palfinger Marine’s new MPC 49 lifeboat was tested, with 200 employees from the company and 240 volunteers, aged 18 to 88.
The 440 people boarded the lifeboat in five minutes and 21 seconds. Industry standards state that a lifeboat must be boarded within 10 minutes.
The MPC 49 lifeboat measures 15.5 metres in lengths and 5.52 metres wide and has a capacity of 440 people. It offers more seats than a 747 aircraft. The world’s largest lifeboat offers a roomier interior and a comfort level far above the present industry standard.
The lifeboat is the world’s first double-deck lifeboat, which is equipped with two entrances on each deck for quicker and easier boarding. The davits are enclosed in a sleek design, which will enhance a ship’s overall appearance and reduce the need for maintenance.
Arild Lokøy, Global Products Director, Palfinger Marine, said: “Overall, the boarding tests proved a huge success for the project. The first test was performed within the time limit of 10 minutes, already at first attempt we set a record time of five minutes and 21 seconds. Before testing we were quite convinced that we would make it on time, but I must admit it’s a huge relief to actually have demonstrated it to DNV GL and STX! Now we look forward to delivering these high-end lifeboats to the customer, and hope they are satisfied with our new flagship for the cruise industry.”
In 2015, Palfinger Marine won a contract to delivery 24 tenders, 12 lifeboats, 36 davits and six rescue boat stations to a number of cruise ships which are being constructed at the STX shipyard in France.