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Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) has officially approved the Viking LifeCraft Survival Craft as a Novel Life-Saving Appliance, meeting the requirements for replacing conventional lifeboats on passenger ships.

The company says this advances progress toward greater safety in large-scale ship evacuation emergencies. Following successful heavy weather trials in November 2018, the Survival Craft component of Viking Life-Saving Equipment’s hybrid lifeboat/liferaft solution, known as the LifeCraft System, was awarded official approval on March 8. Viking says this is the culmination of its long development and approval process, as well as being the first truly ‘Novel’ Lifesaving Appliance (NLSA) to be approved anywhere.

Prior to the LifeCraft Survival Craft approval, maritime safety products and systems that have achieved NLSA approvals have been adaptations or variations of conventional life-saving appliances. The Viking system is claimed to offer an entirely novel and innovative concept, comprising two main elements: four inflatable Viking LifeCraft survival craft, each with a capacity of 203 persons, giving 812 in total, and a fully self-contained stowage and launching appliance either placed on deck or built into the ship’s side.

With four independent electric engines at its corners, each survival craft is highly manoeuvrable. Its ability to rapidly turn 360 degrees on the spot, unmatched by conventional motor-propelled survival craft, is a critical feature for safely clearing a ship’s side in an emergency evacuation.

DMA Senior Ship Surveyor, Kasper Raunskov Rasmussen, said: “The Danish Maritime Authority has been engaged in the approval of the LifeCraft since the very beginning, and we have been in close contact with Viking and all involved parties throughout the entire approval process. We have, in particular, worked at ensuring the required and sufficient safety level and also overseen the fulfilment of the approval process for a novel life-saving appliance. However, it isn’t just the result of many years of work. It’s also evidence of a particular mindset of innovation in Denmark as a major seafaring nation. VIKING has made a significant investment that will pay off, not just for its business, but surely for the safety of passengers and crew on some of the largest ships around the world.”

“This is a crucial step that our customers have been waiting for,” said Viking CEO, Henrik Uhd Christensen. “Now they can take their plans for incorporating Viking LifeCraft into both newbuilds and existing ships to the next level.”

NLSA approval for the chute portion of the LifeCraft System is expected by August 2019. “The Survival Craft itself is something completely new and innovative, while the launching appliance is, in fact, well-proven technology,” said Christensen. “So, we expect the necessary approval process to go every bit as smoothly as this latest NLSA approval.”

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