As cruise ships are becoming larger, they require larger lifesaving equipment. In line with this development, Fassmer has presented its newly developed lifeboats and tenders, Type SEL12.5 and SEL-T 15.5.

In the case of a vessel with 7,000 persons on board, 36 lifeboats of the standard size of 150 persons would be required in order to fulfil the Solas regulations. This would correspond to an installation length of 220 meters, according to Fassmer. However, such space is generally not available on cruise ships. This means that there would have to be less cabins or public areas, which is of course not acceptable, the company said in a prepared statement.

For this reason, Fassmer said it has developed new boat concepts for up to 300 persons.

Fassmer spent some seven years developing its new boats. In 2004, the criteria for the new design were defined by the shipyard, ship-owner and a classification society, and the first trial followed with a 1:1 mock-up, testing the embarkation time under realistic conditions. Staff and their families were invited in order to reach have 300 persons. The test was successful, since ‘embarkation time per person’ was reduced by half, according to Fassmer.

After evaluation of the test results and completion of the basic design work, Fassmer received pre-approval for the new boat concept. At the same time, new-building projects were signed with the yards.

A working group with NCL and the French shipyard Aker France (STX Europe) was set up. In close cooperation between the shipyard, the ship owner and Fassmer, the cruise-ship design was further developed with the new Fassmer lifeboats. In November 2006 Fassmer received the first contract for the new XXL lifeboats and tenders, including the launching appliances.

Before construction, however, Fassmer’s prototypes were subjected to testing and simulation runs.

With the new boats, a reduction in positioning length of approximately 25 percent can be achieved, according to Fassmer, giving the shipowner more space for cabins. But that is not the only benefit, Fassmer said:  With other technical improvements it has been possible to optimize the access to the lifeboats and their overall safety.  For example, the new boats have better sea-going and manoeuvring characteristics. They are equipped with two propulsion systems and provide passengers with more space on board than traditional lifeboats.