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Ships operation-Initial response to engine or steering gear trouble

The steering gear is one of the most vital systems on a ship as it provides a rudder movement response to a signal from the Bridge, thus helping steer the vessel in a headway. It is in constant use when the ship is underway, and any failure or malfunction may result in disasters such as collisions or groundings. Therefore, safety navigation at sea involves a considerable challenge, especially if any trouble with ships' main steering gear is detected. When a vessel is not under command due to problem with the Main engine or Steering Gear, the Officer of the Watch should immediately take the following measures:

containerships operational matters
Oil Tanker Safety Guide
Where the design of the steering gear permits, the second steering motor must always be in operation before any maneuvering 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.

Use of engines

Use of the main engines when steering capability is not available may help change the drift direction and speed or even stop 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 hard over position, careful ahead maneuvering can keep the vessels"s head into the weather. The effect of propellor revolutions on a free flapping rudder is that the rudder will generally go to the hard-to-starboard position with either ahead or astern revolutions and stay there as long as the engine revolutions are maintained.

Personnel repairing a damaged or failed steering gear must be warned before any engine movements are contemplated. The tendency of the rudder to go to a hard over 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 the Bridge team's responsibilities are not alleviated once the Pilot embarks the vessel. The Master and deck officers must remain sufficiently vigilant to the vessel's position at all times concerning 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 the 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 does 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 the vessel is in a safe position. Strong Bridge Team culture onboard aids with the elimination of one-person 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 on board your vessels, then please bring it to the attention of 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 important information about the vessel's movements. There should be sufficient facts to be able to reconstruct the passage.

Response To Engine Trouble

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

Item to check on steering gear ....

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Our additional pages contain somewhat larger resources regarding procedures / guidelines about container stowage and safe handling in port,care at sea, Stacking weights,cargo securing prior departure port, Lashing Strength, Dangerous Cargo Stowage & Segregation,handling Reefer units, Special Container Stowage, Irregular Stowage of Containers, Over-stow of Containers,safety of navigation,Hull strength & stability,stevedores injury and reporting, Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck ) and many more detail topics related with containership operation and business. For any comments or suggestions please Contact us
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