Safety warning issued about servicing and certification after a liferaft failed to inflate during an emergency

Marine Accident Investigation Branch

August 24
08:59 2023

Safety bulletin 2/2023


On 1 June 2022, the engine room of the UK registered stern trawler Piedras (FD 528) flooded while fishing 78 nautical miles south-west of Mizen Head, the Republic of Ireland. The crew were unable to contain the flooding so the skipper gave the order to abandon ship and the port liferaft was released manually; however, it failed to inflate correctly. The starboard liferaft was successfully launched and the crew used it to transfer to a nearby fishing vessel. Piedras eventually capsized and sank.

The port liferaft was never recovered and inspection of the starboard liferaft (see photograph) found that it had not been correctly serviced since manufacture in March 2007, despite having been routinely certified.

The recovered starboard liferaft secured to a trailer

Safety issues

  • Both liferafts exhibited deficiencies that raised servicing and certification concerns and are likely to have contributed to the port liferaft failure.

  • Deutsche Schlauchboot GmbH (DSB) liferafts certified by the service station Comfer Marin SL in Marin, Spain may not function correctly when deployed or meet statutory requirements.


Shortly after the accident, MAIB wrote to DSBs parent company Survitec to issue recommendations regarding the servicing and certification of its liferafts, and the company is now further recommended (S2023/103) to distribute this safety bulletin to all owners and operators with DSB liferafts certified by Comfer Marin SL between January 2017 and June 2022.

In a second recommendation (S2023/104M) MAIB is urging all affected vessel owners and operators to immediately contact their nearest approved Survitec liferaft service station to arrange for the liferafts to be urgently reinspected and serviced to ensure they are fully functional and comply with statutory requirements.

The causes and circumstances of the flooding and foundering of the fishing vessel Piedras will be published in an investigation report in due course.

Published 24 August 2023

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