Last Updated on June 4, 2022 by Amit Abhishek
All seagoing merchant ships undergo periodic maintenance and checks to comply with the set conventional requirement set under SOLAS, MARPOL, MLC, Loadline etc.
The main aim of any maintenance activity on ship is to ensure its efficient operation, compliance, reduce risks and full operational safety. Deficiencies when observed are corrected before it can grow into serious faults / accidents.
It is the responsibility of the ships master to ensure all maintenance arrangements are made to keep their ship in seaworthy condition.
To ensure this merchants ships are periodically inspected by flag state or other recognized authority.
How Maintenance is Done Onboard a Ship?
Whether it is a small or large machine they all reacquire proper maintenance for smooth operation.
Effective and efficient maintenance planning is essential not just to prolong life of the component/parts/machinery but also to comply with specific regulations without further complexity.
While maintenance is done on all machines and components; it is ship’s engine room where most maintenance work is done. After all it is where maximum machines are located on the ship.
To ensure maximum productivity / efficiency and adequate use of available manpower important maintenance activity are ideally planned ahead for each machinery.
On board ship all types of maintenance procedure fall under three main categories; preventive maintenance, Predictive / condition based maintenance and breakdown maintenance.
Preventive / Planned / Scheduled Maintenance
Also known as planned maintenance system this includes active planning of maintenance work on various machinery in advanced; mostly based on their working hours.
This type of maintenance activity follow a defined schedule like after 500 hrs, after 2000 hrs, after 4000 hrs, after 8000 hrs etc or by calendar intervals like weekly, monthly, yearly.
During routine maintenance a set number of machines and systems due for maintenance are overhauled, tested and repaired irrespective of their condition.
All major action and parts replaced are been recorder and feed into the PMS. Maintenance schedule is been decided based either on mean time between failures or manufacturer recommendation.
Other than that all instruments, appliance and machinery are been inspected / tested as per the planned maintenance checklist; including major certification, Garbage management, COW, 15 PPM alarm etc.
Corrective / Break Down Maintenance
This include overhaul or repair of machinery or instrument after they break down or failure is detected. Being a sub set of unplanned maintenance these are not efficient way of maintenance.
The corrective maintenance can again be sub divided into two types; immediate corrective maintenance ( when repairs is done at the time of critical failure ) and differed corrective maintenance ( when repair is scheduled for near future with subsiding planned maintenance routine ).
Following breakdown maintenance often lead to increase in cost and time for subsequent repairs. Further your machinery may be down when they be most needed.
The only advantage of following corrective maintenance is that all machinery, instruments and systems are used to their maximum potential before repairs.
Predictive / Condition Based Maintenance
Also known as condition based maintenance this includes regular monitoring and inspection of a system or machinery both virtually as well as with data analysis done on sensors feedback.
A maintenance activity is then scheduled based on the current condition or reliability of the system or machinery. While this may be the most efficient way of repair it needs a lot of experience and knowledge.
Different methods used to monitor the condition of a system or machinery includes; trend monitoring, visual inspection, vibration monitoring, temperature monitoring, performance monitoring etc.
Maintenance Planning and Implementation
The main aim of any maintenance activity on ship is to ensure its efficient operation, compliance, reduce risks and full operational safety. Thus ensuring maintenance activity is done in least possible time at optimum cost.
All maintenance plan must comply with the ISM ( International Safety Management Code ) code.
In order to carry out a successful maintenance operation we must first identify and evaluate the problem with all possible cause and explanation.
Then we should come up with possible solution and implement best possible action.
Once repairs are been done make sure you inspect and evaluate the effectiveness of the maintenance operation; thus evaluating if no further action is needed.
During planning we should also take into consideration the history of the equipment / machinery, ships age, manufacturer recommendation, critical equipment / system, Guidelines, inspection interval, historical trends as well as any practical or operational restrictions.
Once analyzed all maintenance work are then schedules based on if it can be done onboard the ship either at sea or in port or need need special attention at shipyard repairs.
For all maintenance activity checklist are then used to ensure all reacquired test’s, inspection and repaired are carried out properly with least difficulty or confusion.
Maintenance Checklist For Ships Engine
Inspection Piston & Piston Ring
Main Bearing Inspection
Axial Vibration Damper
Checking Chain Drive
Adjusting Chain Tension
Cam Inspections ( Camshaft )
Cam Replacement ( Camshaft )
Adjustment of Camshaft
Starting Air Valve
Cylinder Liner Inspection
Check Oil Drain CrossHead Bearing
CrossHead Bearing Clearance
CrossHead Journal Inspection
Crankshaft Deflection Check
Main Bearing Clearance Check
Exhaust Valve Actuator
Fuel Valve Overhaul
Functional Test Alarm System
What Ship Maintenance Checklist Include
On board ship different maintenance checklist are made for different purposes. But ideally their is 4 types of maintenance checklist to satisfy 4 different needs or authority.
First the most used one is the maintenance checklist made for periodic maintenance; second made specific for PSC inspections, another made for compliance and inspection for Safety Management System / Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and the last one made for International Ship and Port Facility Security.
Periodic maintenance checklist includes inspection of Certificate & Documents, Logbook Entries, safety inspections, Testing and drills, navigation equipment, inspection and checks of Fire fighting and Lifesaving Appliances.
Further hull construction and piping on deck is inspected along with load line mooring arrangements.
It is the responsibility of the ship master to ensure all the associated documents and certificates are in order; from general certificates like Flag Registry Certificate to Statutory Certificates like Load Line, Safety Equipment Certificate, International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate etc.
Further all manuals and record books are to be maintained and duly checked.
Make sure all tank tops and bilges are clean, tools and equipment stored properly, no oil leaks / deposits present anywhere and all auxiliaries and pumps operational / or in good working order.
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