ship handling

Ships operation-Initial response to engine or steering gear trouble

When a vessel is not under command due to trouble with the Main engine or Steering Gear, the Officer of the Watch shall immediately take the following measures:

  • Stopping Engine (in case trouble of steering engine)

  • Alerting other vessels nearby (By means of lights for ‘Not Under Command,’ Whistle or VHF)
  • Reporting to the Master and Chief Engineer
  • Confirming the vessel Position
  • Estimating the Drifting Direction and Speed
Where the design of the steering gear permits, the second steering motor must always be in operation prior to any manoeuvring situation or where additional steering performance is required. The practice of good seamanship also dictates that both steering motors are to be kept on for prompt response and prudent risk reduction during passages in restricted waters.

Response To Engine Trouble

The Master shall take necessary measures in response to trouble in compliance with “Attention to Engine Trouble”

Use of engines

Use of the main engines when steering capability is not available may very helpful in changing the drift direction and speed or even in stopping the ship altogether.

Tests have shown the following:
With full, or emergency full, astern power it is possible to bring the stern of a single screw ship up into the weather. For a ship with the rudder jammed in a hardover position, careful ahead manoeuvring can keep the ship"s head into the weather.

The effect of propellor revolutions on a free flapping rudder is such that the rudder will generally go to the hard-to-starboard position with either ahead or astern revolutions and will stay there as long as the engine revolutions are maintained.

It is essential that personnel repairing a damaged or failed steering gear are warned before any engine movements are contemplated. The tendency of the rudder to go to a hardover position might be used to aid repairs by holding the rudder in one position even if this results in radical changes of heading.

When engine trouble occurs, the Master shall make an initial report to the Company. The Master shall report “Engine Trouble Report (Second & following reports)” to the Company. The extent of damages to the engine should be determined.

Masters and deck officers to be aware that responsibilities of the Bridge Team are not alleviated once the pilot embarks the vessel. The Master and deck officers must remain fully vigilant to the vessel’s position at all times in relation to the passage plan.

Steering failure & contingency plans

The passage plan must be approved and signed by the Master and although much of what will have been pre-planned may have to be changed after embarking the pilot, this in no way detracts from the need to mark out in advance where the ship must not go, or to give initial warning that the ship is standing into danger. Particular attention to detail must be made to meteorological conditions, latest weather forecasts, tidal data, UKC calculations , emergency abort points, locations where tugs are to be met and the use of parallel indexing.

Attention is drawn to the following extract from IMO Resolution A 285 (VIII):

“Despite the duties and obligations of a Pilot, his presence on board does not relieve the Officer of the Watch from his duties and obligations for safety of the ship. He should co-operate closely with the Pilot and maintain an accurate check on the vessel’s position and movements. If he is in any doubt as to the Pilot’s actions or intentions, he must seek clarification from the Pilot and if doubt still exists, he is to notify the Master immediately and take whatever action is necessary before the Master arrives.”

In summary, if the Master / Officer of the watch do not receive what he considers to be a satisfactory response from the Pilot, he must immediately take over the direct control of the vessel until he is satisfied that the vessel is back on her intended track or until the vessel is in a safe position.

Strong Bridge Team culture onboard aids with the elimination of one-man errors and assists with maintaining situational awareness. To encourage this culture, all deck officers attend a shore-based BTM refresher course every 36 months. If this is not the case onboard your vessels then please bring it to the attention of your DPA.

Report to External Body

When it is likely that safety of navigation will be impaired by a failure to the Steering gear, Propeller, Power generator system, etc., or when it is feared that oil could be discharged unintentionally, the Master shall immediately inform the nearest coastal station or Coast Guard station.

A Bell book must be used to record significant information pertaining to the vessel’s movements. There should be sufficient facts to be able to reconstruct the passage.

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Oil tanker golden victory at sea is merely an informational site about various aspects of ships operation,maintenance procedure, prevention of pollution and many safety guideline. The procedures explained here are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship. User feedback is important to update our database.For any comments or suggestions please Contact us

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