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Guideline for work in machinery spaces on board cargo ship

Merchant Shipping regulations require every dangerous part of a ship's machinery to be securely guarded unless it is so positioned or constructed that it is as safe as if it were securely guarded or is otherwise safeguarded.



All steam pipes, exhaust pipes and fittings which by their location and temperature present a hazard, should be adequately lagged or otherwise shielded. The insulation of hot surfaces should be properly maintained, particularly in the vicinity of oil systems.

Personnel required to work in machinery spaces which have high noise levels should wear suitable hearing protectors .

Where a high noise level in a machinery space, or the wearing of ear protectors, may mask an audible alarm, a visual alarm of suitable intensity should be provided, where practicable, to attract attention and indicate that an audible alarm is sounding. This should preferably take the form of a light or lights with rotating reflectors. Guidance may be found in the IMO Code on Alarms and Indicators.

The source of any oil leakage should be located and repaired as soon as practicable.

Waste oil should not be allowed to accumulate in the bilges or on tank tops. Any leakage of fuel, lubricating and hydraulic oil should be disposed of in accordance with Oil Pollution Regulations at the earliest opportunity. Tank tops and bilges should, wherever practicable, be painted a light colour and kept clean and well-illuminated in the vicinity of pressure oil pipes so that leaks may be readily located.

Great caution is required when filling any settling or other oil tank to prevent it overflowing, especially in an engine room where exhaust pipes or other hot surfaces are directly below. Manholes or other openings in the tanks should always be secured so that should a tank be overfilled the oil is directed to a safe place through the overflow arrangements.

Particular care should be taken when filling tanks which have their sounding pipes in the machinery spaces to ensure that weighted cocks are closed. In no case should a weighted cock on a fuel or lubricated oil tank sounding pipe or on a fuel, lubricating or hydraulic oil tank gauge be secured in the open position.

Engine room bilges should at all times be kept clear of rubbish and other substances so that mud-boxes are not blocked and the bilges may be readily and easily pumped.

Remote controls fitted for stopping machinery or pumps or for operating oil-tank quick-closing valves in the event of fire, should be tested regularly to ensure that they are functioning satisfactorily. This also applies to the controls on fuel storage daily service tanks (other than double bottoms) and lubricating oil tanks.

Cleaning solvents should always be used in accordance with manufacturers' instructions and in an area that is well ventilated.

Care should be taken to ensure that spare gear is properly stowed and items of machinery under overhaul safely secured so that they do not break loose and cause injury or damage even in the heaviest weather.

Allocation of Watchkeeping Duties

The Chief Engineer is to delegate authority to the Second Engineer for the supervision of the day-to-day work of all engineers however is responsible for the allocation of watchkeeping duties for his staff and ensuring that a competent Engineer is always in charge of the machinery spaces. This responsibility is applicable equally to ships having conventional manning of watches and those certified for “Unmanned” operation.

At least two persons shall man the Engineer Room if conventional manning of watches is maintained. In addition to the competent Engineering Officer, a rating shall be allocated to each watch interval. In accordance with STCW requirements, the Chief Engineer must also post a watch schedule in the Engine Room. Engine Room watch-keeping minimum manning.

At least two persons shall man the Engine Room whenever conventional manning of watches is maintained. In addition to the competent Engineering Officer, a rating shall be allocated to each watch interval. Clearly there will be situations when little warning is possible e.g. when encountering restricted visibility, congested traffic areas, or adverse weather The Chief Engineer is responsible for ensuring that the Engine Room is sufficiently manned for such occasions.

Familiarisation, Instruction and Training

The Chief Engineer should ensure that his officers are familiar with the Engine Room equipment and procedures.Familiarisation Checklist is to be completed by newly joined engineering officers as soon as possible after joining the vessel.

This checklist is to be signed by both the Officer and the Chief Engineer and a log entry made. When cadets or trainees are being trained, they will be required to follow specific training schedules and the Chief Engineer is to assist the master in ensuring satisfactory completion of tasks and duties within his area of responsibility. A personal log book for the trainee is to be maintained up-to-date.

Safety Requirement

The Chief Engineer should ensure that he and his staff are familiar with the requirements of the Company’s Health Safety & Environmental Policy, Safety Regulations and appropriate legislation and that compliance is ensured throughout his area of responsibility. He must take due care for the health and safety of himself, his staff and other seafarers and ensure that his staff’s working practices ensure that they fulfil their duties safely and efficiently.

Plant Management

The Chief Engineer is to make frequent inspections of all machinery and machinery spaces to satisfy himself that standards of maintenance, safety and cleanliness are at the required levels. He must ensure that the plant is being efficiently operated and that all activities are being carried out in a safe and effective manner. Full use must be made of any performance monitoring systems provided on board.

It should be noted that the presence of the Chief Engineer in the engine room does not relieve the Engineer Officer of the Watch of his responsibilities.

Main Engine

The Chief Engineer must check that the appropriate RPM for a specific telegraph order, in both manoeuvring and fuel away conditions, are adhered to and posted in the wheel house and engine room control positions. These RPM are to be calculated for the loaded draft and the requisite adjustments made for variations in the draft.

Electrical Installation

The Chief Engineer should ensure that proper care and upkeep of the alternators / generators, wiring and all electrical equipment is undertaken. The installation of unauthorised electrical equipment and wiring is strictly prohibited. Any modifications found are to be advised to the company.

The Electrician / CE must make regular inspection on all domestic electrical equipment (including bridge and ECR) to ensure that sockets are not overloaded and that equipment and cabling is in good condition.



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Marine diesel engines ||Steam generating plant ||Air conditioning system ||Compressed air ||Marine batteries ||Cargo refrigeration ||Centrifugal pump ||Various coolers ||Emergency power supply ||Exhaust gas heat exchangers ||Feed system ||Feed extraction pump || Flow measurement || Four stroke engines || Fuel injector || Fuel oil system || Fuel oil treatment ||Gearboxes || Governor || Marine incinerator || Lub oil filters || MAN B&W engine || Marine condensers || Oily water separator || Overspeed protection devices || Piston & piston rings || Crankshaft deflection || Marine pumps || Various refrigerants || Sewage treatment plant || Propellers || Power Plants || Starting air system || Steam turbines || Steering gear || Sulzer engine || Turbine gearing || Turbochargers || Two stroke engines || UMS operations || Drydocking & major repairs || Critical machinery || Deck machineries & cargo gears || Control and instrumentation ||Fire protection ||Engine room safety ||






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