The HRU comes in action under the pressure of water exerted on HRU when the ship sinks below 4m of water level. It consists of a sharp knife or chisel which is used to cut the strap lashed over the container carrying life raft, but it still holds the painter at the weak link.
As the vessel sinks tension comes on painter which causes life raft to inflate. While the vessel continues to sink tension starts to act on the weak link which causes it to break making the life raft free from the ship.

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