Cruise officials across the world are concerned that nitrogen cylinders, which are used in lifeboat launching systems, may corrode and cause an explosion risk.
The alarm stems from a February explosion which killed a New Zealand a cruise ship crew member. An investigation into the incident, conducted by an expert metallurgist, indicated that the explosion was likely due to corrosive thinning of a metal cylinder. The thickness of the cylinder was reduced approximately 75 percent by the corrosion, causing it to be unable to retain the pressure of the gas inside.
The cylinders are used to lift and lower life boats.
According to a report issued today by the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission, crew members and passengers lives may be put at risk by the corroded cylinders. The commission is recommending that the International Association of Classification Societies issue a communique to its members relating to the potential threat.
The Cruise Line International Association, the largest cruise industry organization, has already signaled that it will wait until the final version of the draft is published before making specific recommendations.