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Steering gear requirement for various ship types

Every ocean going cargo ship need to be provided with a main steering gear and an auxiliary steering gear unless the main steering gear comprises two or more identical power units. The main steering gear is to be capable of putting the rudder over from 35° on one side to 35° on the other side with the ship at its deepest draft and running ahead at maximum service speed, and under the same conditions from 35° on either side to 30° on the other side in not more than 28 seconds. It is to be power operated where necessary to meet the above conditions and where the stock diameter exceeds 120mm.



The auxiliary steering gear is to be capable of putting the rudder over 15° on one side to 15° on the other side in not more than 60 seconds with the ship at its deepest draft and running ahead at half the maximum service speed or 7 knots whichever is greater. Power operated auxiliary steering gear is required if necessary to meet the forgoing requirement or where the rudder stock diameter exceeds 230 mm.

The main steering gear for oil tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers of 10 000 gross tonnage or more and every other ship of 70 000 gross tonnage or more is to consist of two or more identical power units which are capable of operating the rudder as indicated for the main steering gear above and whilst operating with all power units. If a passenger ship, this requirement is to be met when any one of the power units is inoperable.

4 ram steering gear

Fig:Typical 4 ram steering gear arrangement for cargo ships

Steering gear control for power operated main and auxiliary steering gears is from the bridge and steering gear compartment, the auxiliary steering gear control being independent of the main steering gear control (but not duplication of the wheel or steering lever).

Steering gear on ocean-going ships is generally of the electro-hydraulic type.

Where the rudder stock is greater than 230 mm an alternative power supply is to be provided automatically from the ship’s emergency power supply or from an independent source of power located in the steering gear compartment.

The steering gear provides a movement of the rudder in response to a signal from the bridge. The total system may be considered made up of three parts, control equipment, a power unit and a transmission to the rudder stock. The control equipment conveys a signal of desired rudder angle from the bridge and activates the power unit and transmission system until the desired angle is reached. The power unit provides the force, when required and with immediate effect, to move the rudder to the desired angle. The transmission system, the steering gear, is the means by which the movement of the rudder is accomplished.

Steering gears can be arranged with hydraulic control equipment known as a 'telemeter', or with electrical control equipment. The power unit may in turn be hydraulic or electrically operated. Each of these units will be considered in turn, with the hydraulic unit pump being considered first. A pump is required in the hydraulic system which can immediately pump fluid in order to provide a hydraulic force that will move the rudder. Instant response does not allow time for the pump to be switched on and therefore a constantly running pump is required which pumps fluid only when required. A variable delivery pump provides this facility.

Generally, work should not be done on steering gear when a ship is under way. If it is necessary to work on steering gear when the vessel is at sea, the ship should be stopped and suitable steps taken to immobilise the rudder by closing the valves on the hydraulic cylinders or by other appropriate and effective means.

Operation of ships steering gear
: The steering gear provides a movement of the rudder in response to a signal from the bridge. The total system may be considered made up of three parts, control equipment, a power unit and a transmission to the rudder stock. The control equipment conveys a signal of desired rudder angle from the bridge and activates the power unit and transmission system until the desired angle is reached.



The power unit provides the force, when required and with immediate effect, to move the rudder to the desired angle. The transmission system, the steering gear, is the means by which the movement of the rudder is accomplished.

Certain requirements must currently be met by a ship's steering system. There must be two independent means of steering, although where two identical power units are provided an auxiliary unit is not required.

The power and torque capability must be such that the rudder can be swung from 35° one side to 35° the other side with the ship at maximum speed, and also the time to swing from 35° one side to 30° the other side must not exceed 28 seconds. The system must be protected from shock loading and have pipework which is exclusive to it as well as be constructed from approved materials. Control of the steering gear must be provided in the steering gear compartment.

Tankers of 10000 ton gross tonnage and upwards must have two independent steering gear control systems which are operated from the bridge. Where one fails, changeover to the other must be immediate and achieved from the bridge position. The steering gear itself must comprise two independent systems where a failure of one results in an automatic changeover to the other within 45 seconds. Any of these failures should result in audible and visual alarms on the bridge.

Steering gears can be arranged with hydraulic control equipment known as a 'telemeter', or with electrical control equipment. The power unit may in turn be hydraulic or electrically operated. Each of these units will be considered in turn, with the hydraulic unit pump being considered first. A pump is required in the hydraulic system which can immediately pump fluid in order to provide a hydraulic force that will move the rudder. Instant response does not allow time for the pump to be switched on and therefore a constantly running pump is required which pumps fluid only when required. A variable delivery pump provides this facility.



Related information

  1. Ships steering gear testing requirement
  2. The regulations SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 26 and 33 CFR Chapter 1 164.25 “Tests before entering or getting underway” have to be complied with. During stays in port between voyages or passages a test is to be carried out within 12 hours of the estimated time of "stand by departure"....



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  4. The sterntube bearing serves two important purposes. It supports the tailshaft and a considerable proportion of the propeller weight. It also acts as a gland to prevent the entry of sea water to the machinery space.....

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  6. The propeller consists of a boss with several blades of helicoidal form attached to it. When rotated it 'screws' or thrusts its way through the water by giving momentum to the column of water passing through it. The thrust is transmitted along the shafting to the thrust block and finally to the ship's structure....

  7. Controllable pitch propeller
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  9. Ships propeller shaft -Thrust block & Shaft bearings
  10. The transmission system on a ship transmits power from the engine to the propeller. It is made up of shafts, bearings, and Finally the propeller itself. The thrust from the propeller is transferred to the ship through the transmission system....

  11. Ships steering gear arrangement and testing requirement
  12. The main steering gear is to be capable of putting the rudder over from 35° on one side to 35° on the other side with the ship at its deepest draft and running ahead at maximum service speed, and under the same conditions from 35° on either side to 30° on the other side in not more than 28 seconds.....

  13. Ships steering gear electrical control
  14. The electrical remote control system is commonly used in modern installations since it uses a small control unit as transmitter on the bridge and is simple and reliable in operation.Movement of the bridge transmitter results in electrical imbalance and current flow to the motor. .....

  15. Ships steering gear telemotor control
  16. Telemotor control is a hydraulic control system employing a transmitter, a receiver, pipes and a charging unit. The transmitter, which is built into the steering wheel console, is located on the bridge and the receiver is mounted on the steering gear.. .....




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