Further to Class News No. 05/2009, which warned of counterfeit hydrostatic release units (HRUs), the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has advised that expired CM Hammar H20 HRUs have been refurbished and re-sold, and found on board ships for use with liferafts.
These expired units pose a serious safety risk. They are not guaranteed to operate in an emergency, meaning that liferafts or EPIRBs may not be released. If discovered on board, they should be withdrawn from service immediately.
The HRUs highlighted to the MCA had their genuine labels removed and replaced with substandard labels. These labels were observed to wear away a short time after the HRUs were installed.
To help identify genuine H20 HRUs, the manufacturer CM Hammar AB has released a News Bulletin, available here
The MCA and Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have also released a Safety Bulletin and Marine Notice respectively.
CM Hammar recommends that H20 HRUs are procured from authorised distributors or liferaft service agents to ensure they are genuine. The Hammar H20 HRU is designed and approved to release a liferaft or an EPIRB in the event of a ship sinking, and has a service life of two years. At the end of the two years, it should be disposed of.