My ship is beautiful and we undertake regular maintenance of her by taking regular care of its every equipment from forward to aft and tunnel to funnel. I am aware about each tank on my ship its fittings and tank characteristics. I regularly inspect it with my crew ensuring that there is no deficiency of oxygen inside the tank. I am aware of all the check lists such as hot work permit, working on areas at a height, working over the sides and working on electrical equipments and hydraulic equipments. I follow the “Safe working practices” and conduct a meeting to discuss the job before beginning it. What can go wrong, what are the risks involved, am I prepared for addressing these issues. The areas on ship where we don’t visit often are also inspected by us.
We believe that we do not merely work but take care of the ship as well. We have to adopt that sort of mentality that we are here to care for the ship and equipments by undertaking regular maintenance and cleaning in accordance with the PMS and taking into consideration whether the ship is heading towards extreme cold region or hot region. The important aspect of engine room watch keeping and, infact, towards Know your Ship, is physically tracing the pipe lines. We have to trace not only the Pipe lines in the engine room but also on deck such as sewage pipes, hot water pipes, drainage pipes, hydraulic pipes and air pipes. In this matter, it is good if participation of deck officers is also encouraged. Training must be imparted to Deck Cadets as well as Engine Cadets/ TME’s.
This is not a one day job. Even though this task may take three months but a beginning has to be made. Pick up a pipeline, monitor it and see where it is leading to. Generally it is better if two persons oversee this task so that they can track the movement of the pipeline. A register must be maintained in which you can keep your diagrams and important overhauling work that is performed on your ship in your own hands and carry this to the next ship. Such notes should be supplemented by extracts from the instruction manual. At times, we may have the benefit of shore technicians performing some job on board. We must take advantage of this and learn from them.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)