A chain locker is a small compartment or space located under the windlass. This is a place forward of the collision bulkhead below the main deck storing or securing the anchor chain cables.
The chain locker is connected to the windlass with a Spurling pipe. In case it is located aft of the collision bulkhead or in the forecastle it needs to be watertight with allowance for proper operation without any damage to machinery or auxiliaries in case of accidental flooding.
In general chain locker are designed to go deep as possible with just enough breathing space. Although the actual dimension being determined by the length/size of the actual chain cable.
They should be suitably designed to allow easy stowing of cables to the mouth of the chain pipe with the ability to strip the chain from the outside. Even the manholes should be properly secured and covered.
Chain Locker Windlass System
The complete anchoring system consists of an anchor, hawse pipe, Spurling pipe, dog clutch, chain locker, manual brake wheel, cable, hydraulic brake, winch reel, speed lever, control pedestrian, electric motor, etc.
Anchor is a heavy object with shank and a pair of curved flukes; that dig deep into the bottom of the water keeping your boat or a large ship in this case grounded when not moving or operational.
The chain cable provides the weight required to keep the anchor horizontal when lying on the sea bed. The other equipment except for the hawse pipe, Spurling pipe and chain locker is part of the windlass assembly.
A chain locker is a small compartment located under the windlass. This is a place forward of the collision bulkhead below the main deck storing or securing the anchor chain cables.
Both port and aft anchor chains are stored separately in the different subsections of the locker or in port and starboard chain lockers. The chain is then secured to its sides or the top structure.
Common Accidents That Occur While Cleaning/Inspection
Proper inspection and cleaning of the chain locker is an integral part of the ship’s periodic maintenance and dry dock operations. Due to confined space and rust formation it is quite hazardous to inspect or clean.
The most common hazard that happens is asphyxiation inside the locker followed by the faint and even death in some cases. Then there is the risk of falling from the height, caught by the moving cable, a possible slip or eye injuries due to rust, and so on.
Thus it is essential to properly ventilate the area before getting in. Make sure you monitor the oxygen content of the locker at all times when some one inspecting.
Wear proper protective equipment and follow proper safety procedures. Maintain good housekeeping, wear suitable footwear, keep clear of lifted objects when cleaning and use mechanical lifting aids.
For any enclosed space inspection or cleaning just like the chain locker; make sure you have all the rescue equipment radially available at the point of entry or the manhole.
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