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Dry Dock: You Need to Read This!

dry dock

Do you want to learn about the need for a Dry Dock in marine industry? Are you endlessly fascinated by the potentials of the Dry Dock? If you feel like these questions directly pertain to you, then this is the article for you. Read this guide to learn more!

Ship Crew Duties Prior to Entering the Drydock

This article has been produced in order to introduce to SRM the ship crew responsibilities on-board the ship prior entering the dry dock.

General

Before getting into the minute details, it helps to have a general overview of these duties:

  • The master is to ensure that a plan for the intended passage of a vessel is prepared before sailing.
  • It is particularly important that this procedure is adopted both for the voyage in coastal waters (restricted waters) and for the open sea.
  • Before leaving port, the master needs to satisfy himself that the vessel is equipped with the necessary charts and hydro-graphic publications for safe navigation.
  • In particular, he should ensure that the vessel can be safely navigated at all times and in all areas of the intended passage.
  • He is to verify that there shall always be adequate water under the vessel’s keel, that there shall be no air draft restrictions in the ports or approaches to ports that he shall be entering, and that the intended courses do not take the vessel through restricted or hazardous areas.
  • The initial courses to be followed are to be laid on the chart prior to leaving port.
  • If the master delegates this duty to a navigating officer, he is to personally check them before sailing.
  • If he lays the courses off himself, then one of the navigating officers should check with him before the ship leaves port.
  • The information provided in Instructions for the passage plan should be used.
  • Whenever compiling a voyage plan, the following plan may be used as a basis.

Passage Planning

Beyond preparing the sails, the ship crew must carefully chart the passages with the following tips:

  • The master shall prepare a plan for the intended voyage before sailing.
  • He may delegate preparing the plan to the second officer.
  • The navigating officer shall extend or amend the original plan as appropriate if the port of destination changes.

Duties of the Officer on Watch

In terms of specific roles within the ship crew, you have differing duties if you are an officer on watch like these:

  • Under no circumstances shall the officer on watch leave the bridge without being properly relieved.
  • With the master present, he continues to be responsible for safety and navigation of the vessel until such time that the master informs him specifically that he shall assume the responsibility.
  • The officer on watch shall not hand over the watch if he feels that the relieving officer is not capable of performing his watch duties (e.g. illness, under the influence of liquor or drugs, fatigued, etc.).
  • He, or she, shall defer the handing over of duty to the relieving officer if a maneuver or action to avoid a hazard is taking place, and until such action is complete.
  • The officer on watch shall check and compare the vessel track and detailed plan. He shall then apply necessary alterations to the course to avoid possible errors that will cause disastrous consequences.
  • The officer on watch shall refer to the master’s bridge standing orders and night orders book.

Pilot Station to Berth

You may also be a pilot, in which case your duties and responsibilities are exponentially more pivotal as in the following:

  • The officer on duty, upon the pilot’s arrival on board, shall present the pilot card to get the pilot familiarized with vessel particulars.
  • In addition, the master shall advise the pilot of the vessel’s maneuvering characteristics and basic details of the vessel’s present condition along with his navigational intentions.
  • The responsibility for navigation is not handed over to the pilot.
  • The master and the watch officer retain all their duties and obligations.
  • He, or she, should co-operate closely with the pilot to assist him where possible and to maintain an accurate check on the ship’s position, movements, and/or mark timings when passing channel buoys.
  • The officer on watch shall inform the master immediately if he is in doubt of the pilot’s actions or intentions.
  • The officer on watch shall switch one radar to standby position to use as a reserve in case the radar in operation breaks down.

Calling the Master

You may also need to know the proper procedure for summoning the master of the ship crew, which is:

  • The officer on watch shall call the master anytime during heavy traffic, in an area navigating under restricted visibility, or in any other situation where he is in doubt.
  • In addition, he shall refer to the master’s bridge standing orders, night order book and ICS bridge procedure guide.

Vessel Squat

Vessel squat is a crucial element of work for the ship crew and you familiarize yourself with these duties:

  • Is the algebraic sum of the hull sinkage and the trimming effect generally occurring when the ship is moving forward into the shallow water?
  • The officer on watch shall compute vessel squat and consider under keel clearance to the area navigated.
  • Full form vessels such as tankers are associated with high block coefficients.
  • Vessels with block coefficients higher than 0.7 will have the tendency to trim by the bow when squatting.
  • The master shall reduce vessel speed when navigating into shallow water in order to increase under keel clearance.

Parallel Index Plotting

Knowing the procedure for parallel index plotting is an important element of working effectively on the ship crew. It is conducted as follows:

  • A line drawn from echo tangential to the variable range marker circle set to the desired distance.
  • The officer on watch during coastal navigation should set the radar parallel index to the desired safe distance. This is done in order to monitor how much the vessel is off track from the course laid up on the chart.

Course Alterations/Wheel Over Positions

It will not always be smooth sailing, sometimes you will need to know the best ways to change course, which are these:

  • The officer on watch shall execute 20 degrees port and starboard wheel over position when altering course in order to control immediate vessel swinging.
  • This is done also to avoid increase in main engine load that may cause turbocharger surging.
  • The recommendation does not impede using hard over if deemed necessary 

Course Alterations/Radar Range and Bearing

Lists of identified conspicuous points of landmarks or charted objects to use as reference for altering courses at every waypoint.

Cross Track Margin

To make sure you stick to your plan, cross track margins must be tracked carefully with this method:

  • The Master should note safe cross track margins for the desired route plan at every point.
  • It is the vessel port and starboard cross track error from the ideal track with effects from currents, wind, and traffic avoidance.
  • The officer on duty shall in every possible way maintain the vessel on the course line laid out by the chart by correcting cross track errors once vessel position is acquired and plotted.

Weather

Weather can always force the need for an audible so you have to be comfortable understanding how it works. These tips will help:

  • The officer on duty shall, upon receipt of the weather fax or CW from the radio officer, read and sign for acknowledgement.
  • For reference, consult sailing directions and pilot charts.

Tidal Streams/Currents

Adjacent to weather, tidal streams are out of your control and you have to adjust accordingly when needed. Factor this in by following these steps:

  • The Officer on Watch shall check current rate and directions of the area navigated.
  • For reference, consult sailing directions and pilot chart.

Ship Crew Duties During the Repair & Dry Dock

This chapter has been produced in order to introduce to SRM the ship crew responsibilities on-board ship from entering the dry dock to sail-out from the yard.

General

When repair comes into play for the ship crew, the duties are obviously different when compared to the duties of sailing. The duties are as follows:

  • Prior to carrying out major repairs and/or dry docking the ship, there are a number of considerations to bear in mind as outlined in the following paragraphs.
  • The Company is responsible for ensuring that each vessel is dry-docked in accordance with Classification Society’s rules.
  • Special circumstances may occur that require the scheduled docking to be brought forward or deferred.
  • In this case, the company advises the vessel’s owner and makes the necessary arrangements.
  • Major refits required as a result of unforeseen damage, changes to International rules and regulations, or major modifications required by the vessel’s owner.
  • The advice of defect system of reporting maintains.  Each vessel’s master/chief engineer reports, as necessary, any defects or repairs for inclusion in the docking specification.
  • The S/E prepares a full docking specification against information obtained from the following.

Information Sources

  1. Classification Society requirements
  2. Owners requirements
  3. Inspection reports
  4. Planned maintenance reports
  5. Advice of defects report
  6. Incident/damage reports
  7. Masters/Chief Engineers reports
  8. Changes in legislation, national, port state, and International.
  • The docking/refit specification contains advice on the vessel’s date of availability and defines the work covered in the following areas:
  1. General services
  2. Dry-docking
  3. Hull preparation
  4. Painting
  5. Steel repairs/renewals
  6. Deck repairs
  7. Engine repairs
  8. Electrical repairs
  9. Accommodation repairs
  10. Outside contractors
  11. Surveys

General Duties

Beyond an overview of the repair process, you must also familiarize yourself with the following responsibilities:

  • Check for accuracy and detail and then presented to the technical manager for authorization.
  • If required, copy forwards to the vessel’s owner.
  • Once the technical manager approves quotation, the authorized specification tenders to several company approved shipyards for quotation.
  • A comparison summary containing all anticipated expenditure, authorized by the technical manager, with the company recommended yard forwards to the vessel’s owner for authorizations.
  • On receipt of the owner’s written approval, the technical manager or his designated SE to the selected yard awards the contract.

Inspection and Verification

To make sure you did your job to the best of your ability, you double check what you accomplished. This verification process is:

  • At least one company superintendent and/or a representative nominated by the technical manager inspect all dry-docking/major refits.
  • In conjunction with the company representative, the vessel’s senior officers monitor the work carried out on board for compliance with the repair specification.
  • The progress of the docking/repair monitors at a daily meeting attended by both company representatives and responsible shipyard personnel.  This meeting ensures that resources are allocated in the most effective manner, enabling completion of the docking/repair within time and budgetary limits.
  • All maintenance work carried out by ships staff or sub-contractors is recorded in the VFS on board and by the company.

Reporting

You also must ensure that if a repair is beyond your abilities that you call it in to the necessary workers. Reports are conducted by:

  • The attending S/E forwards progress/status reports, in writing, to the company and owners as required by the technical manager.
  • On completion of the docking, a full dry-dock repair report prepares.
  • This report forwards to the owner and copies kept in the VFS on board and by the company.
  • A dry docking/repair analysis form prepares and forwards to the owner if required and kept in the VFS on board and by the company.

Alterations of Fittings

While repairing your work on the ship crew, you may need to make changes to what you planned. These changes could be:

  • No structural alterations to the vessel or her fittings made without the sanction of the company.
  • The master and the chief engineer ensure the amending of appropriate drawings on board.
  • Copies of amended drawings forward to the company. All changes highlighted and amended in order for the office copies of the same drawings.
  • Stability information must reflect any substantial changes BEFORE the vessel leaves the shipyard or repair berth.
  • The master and the C/E must liase with the company on this matter as a matter of extreme importance.
  • Additional steelwork may result in the requirement for an inclining experiment.

Supervision of Repairs

Instead of doing the repair work yourself, you are in charge of overseeing the work of others. This is carried out by:

  • All work in connection with the dry-docking progresses under the supervision of the vessel’s S/E.
  • Additions to the original specification are not in hand without the permission of the TM or the company.
  • It is the responsibility of the vessel’s staff to thoroughly test repairs and for quality control. Report any defects..
  • Regular meetings between the vessel’s senior officers, superintendent, and repairer transpire. This is to monitor work progress, discuss difficulties, and work schedule.

Dry Docking

Dry docking is obviously a skill you need if you are a part of the ship crew. The process is:

  • Before dry-dock, the C/E is responsible for ensuring that the bilge wells and engine room tank tops are dry. Additionally, all double bottom tank lids are in place and secured.
  • Isolate fire pumps, sanitary pumps, and sewage unit pumps. This is only when the vessel dry-docks and the shore fire main connects.
  • Before the vessel enters dry dock, the C/E and C/O must discuss the distribution of both ballast and bunkers. This is to obtain the correct docking condition. It also avoids undue stress to the hull when the vessel takes the blocks.  Records of the draft forward entered in the E/R and deck log books.

Dry Dock Inspection

When the dock is dry, you inspect the outside and bottom of the hull, propeller, rudder etc. The master, chief Engineer and the company’s representative do this to ascertain the condition. They also must evaluate any damage sustained since the previous docking.

Gas Free Certificate

Like an elevator must be verified annually, you also must achieve a gas free status for your ship. You can attain this by:

  • During repair periods no space is gas free. That is, unless you obtain and maintain a gas free certificate.
  • The certificate must state whether the space is gas free for hot work or entry only.

Boiler Blow Down

To steam a boiler during dry dockings, the blow down valves and cocks secure. This prevents accidental discharge into the dry dock.

Undocking

To wrap up each of your tasks, you need to familiarize yourself with undocking procedures, as well:

  • Prior to flooding the dock, the C/E and master will satisfy themselves. They ensure that all drain plugs fit and that all sea valves shut.
  • All such plugs held by C/O while removed.
  • Distribution of weight and trim of the ship must be the same on leaving dry dock as on entering.
  • Special sanctions obtained by the S/E in charge of repairs. It also must be from the docking authorities for any departure from this instruction.
  • The C/E is to station officers to inspect all sea connections and hull repairs. This happens while the dry dock floods.
  • Flooding stops before the vessel lifts off the blocks. A full examination ensures that the vessel is watertight.
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Eng. Mohamed Khamis is a Professional Projects Manager and Independent Marine Surveyor Consultancy of Ship Building| Ship Repair| Dry Docking| Ship Conversions| Ports and Shipping| Offshore Oil Rigs| Oil and Gas|Maritime Industry.