WesCom Signal and Rescue, a global supplier of marine distress signals, advised shipping companies to check and order pyrotechnic safety products ahead of their expiry dates. This follows the updated guidance of certification of goods for seafarers, released by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation.
If expired pyrotechnical safety distress signals are not replenished, they could pose a great threat to maritime safety if they malfunction during an emergency. Prioritising the ordering of pyrotechnics, and other dated SOLAS-mandated equipment, will avoid any supply delays due to potential congested demand.
Only where absolutely necessary, extensions to expiry dates of pyrotechnics will be made at the discretion of the local maritime authority, and extensions will only be considered where availability is a problem for a particular vessel. The extension may be granted for a month at a time to enable the vessel to reach a port where supply can be replenished; but not beyond four years after the date of manufacture, marked on the product.
WesCom Signal and Rescue have confirmed that they do not foresee any problems with global availability of their pyrotechnic products. But due to the changing situations during the pandemic, they advised that shipping companies replace their pyrotechnic safety equipment earlier than originally planned.