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Shipyard: The Definitive Guide

project management

Imagine this: you are hired as a shipyard project manager. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, surely, but you definitely need awareness of what sort of responsibilities are involved every step of the way. Written below is a near definitive list of all the duties, responsibilities, goals, and learning objectives that come along with the position.

Shipyard Project Manager Duties

Before any element of training begins, the shipyard project manager has to know what their job is going to entail.

  • Compilation of all information available from commercial file in order to prepare all standard documents necessary for the work and distribution to yard services concerned.
  • Clarifications with customer representative of any unclear item in the customer specification resulting from detailed discussions with yard services.
  • Board the vessel on way for inspection and reporting on arrival.
  • Clarification and agreement with customer representative of required condition for the vessel on arrival as well as requirements for docking, taking into consideration specifications and yard procedures.
  • Enquiry for availability of any technical information necessary for the works (drawing, specification, owner’s decision on spare parts, etc.).
  • Discussion and agreement with yard’s services of the work preliminary schedule.
  • Meeting with customer representative and staff on arrival, introducing them to the yard’s normal practice safety regulations and procedures,
  • Identification on site of specified works with the services concerned and agreement on technical aspects according to the yard’s practice and capabilities.
  • Follow-up works in progress and schedule of repairs, identifying deviations, processing eventual corrective measures to minimize idle time, maintain delivery dates, and optimizing the use of yard facilities/equipment.


You also have to know what your responsibilities will be.

  • Attendance of meetings with customer representative and staff for discussion of all pertinent aspects of work, in particular, process variations of work and their effects on the schedule.
  • Safety aspects and interference between the yard and customers staff work requirements for customer supplied items.
  • Eventual receipt of complaints addressing the same to concerned yard services and, if required, process the same as per yard quality assurance system.
  • Preparation of change orders and assistance on provision of details to sales department to allow preparation of quotations.
  • Assurance that quality of work is commercially acceptable according to established procedures and obtain approval for work completed from customer representative.
  • Attendance of production meetings to report on progress of work and relevant problems related with project.
  • Maintenance of close and daily contacts with the yard’s safety officers and the yard’s services; initiate meeting, when required, with them and customer staff to agree on procedures, sequence, priorities of conflicting tasks, unsafe conditions, and measures to be taken to minimize any negative effect on the schedule.

Shipyard Project Management Processes

SRM must know the project processes from ship pre-arrival to the ship deliver & that to allow him for more controls on the project from the day he receives his nominated letter to ship deliver day.

Pre-Arrival Ship Processes

Communication with Ship Owners

Without knowing what the objectives of the ship owners are, you will not be able to thoroughly carry out your job as a ship repair owner.

  • Marketing contacting clients and maintain relationships with themes using basic communication skills to build strong relationships with ship owners by local and overseas ship agent, face to face meetings, visit & attend all International Maritime Exhibitions, E-mails exchanges, arrange annual gathering day for ship owners, phone calls, upgrading yard website, plan for annual business trip travel, etc.

Communication with Ship Owners

  • Receive and review of docking intentions and repair specification from the clients for quotation purpose, marketing in-charge is required to review the repair specification and assure that it has full required information for estimation calculation such as ship particulars, ship drawings, steel dimensions or quantity, pipe length and diameters, tanks size and volume, blasting and painting area, engines details, propellers dimensions, etc. and any others technical data and drawings can help estimation department in the estimation process, otherwise he should return back directly to the requesters in order to clear with themes  all unclear items in the repair specification.
  • Once the repair specification is completed it is forwarded to the estimation department for estimation process.

Quotation Process

You also need to know everything that goes into the quoting process when you calculate the costs of your job.

  • Estimation Department receives the full repair specification from the yard marketing team for preparing the quotations according to yard tariffs while analyzing the cost structure of the projects such as labors, materials, subcontractors or service engineer’s arrangement and overhead cost.
  • Estimators prepare the quotation of the repair specification activities, arrange, and list the quotation items with attaching ship yard main facilities information’s such as:
  1. Repair berths numbers, drafts, and lengths.
  2. Dry dock numbers, dead weight capacities, minimum depth of water, length and width.
  3. Floating dock numbers, dock lifting capacity, length, width, dock cranes and crane lifting capacity.
  4. Yard cranes numbers, cranes location, lifting capacity for each and maximum outreach for each.
  5. Floating cranes numbers and the lifting capacity for each.
  6. Tug boat numbers and bollard pull capacity for each.

Quotation general remarks such as

  1. All prices quote is in USD and are subject to variation due to changes in cost and availability of material.
  2. Prices quoted for repairs carried out in our yard premises.
  3. All prices are based on work being carried out during normal working hours.
  4. Prices are quoted unless mentioned in the tariff excluding removals for access, staging, cleaning, rust freeing, testing, painting, ventilation, and lighting.
  5. All work to be carried out as per yard general terms, conditions, and yard safety regulations.
  6. Yard working hours and official holidays.


The quoting process also goes beyond knowing what goes into the cost.

  • After the yard estimators have completed the price list of the repair specification, the marketing person in-charge will review it once more. Then. he should return it back to the yard estimators for any miscalculation, missing items or unclear items until setting up the full correct price list.
  • Next, he has to arrange and send to the ship owner’s the yard tender which consists of the quotation covering (price list), yard terms and conditions, dry dock firm booking, repair schedule, and ship delivery.
  • Here, the negotiation exchanges will start between ship owner and yard marketing around the yard price wise, docking period, delivery date and/or various items on yard terms and conditions.


You also have to know what to do with those quotes.

  • After the yard marketing in-charge person has fixed all the negotiated points with ship owners according to yard top management instructions, he must prepare the final tender agreement for approvals from yard managers and ship owner – owner will revert back to the yard with his confirmation for firm booking and tender.
  • Marketing in-charge person will reply to the ship owner with yard acceptance firm booking then issuing the orders confirmation with identification code.
  • Distribute this order to all concerned departments such as estimation, SRM, production, procurement, invoicing, etc.

Preparing the Project Commercial File

It is very important that the marketing in-charge person integrates hard copies of the project information, specification, quotation, term and condition, correspondences, owner firm booking confirmation, yard firm booking acceptance, etc. He must keep it in one file to be as reference for reviewing by everyone that has related work to the project and useful guides of the next process.

Nomination of Shipyard Project Manager for the Project

The head of shipyard management department will nominate the shipyard project manager to coordinate repair activities and hand over a copy of the project commercial file to the SRM. This is done to study all information available from commercial file for preparing all standard documents necessary for the work (repair plan, activity code, etc.) and distribution to yard services concerned.

Accordingly, the SRM will conduct a pre-arrival meeting with the yard concerning department in-charges to make sure that:

  1. All technical information and drawings are available and clear for them.
  2. Each concern department has been issued the POR of required material supply, spare parts supply (if by yard), services engineers arrangement and subcontractors manpower supply.
  3. The fabrications (if any) have been started according to owner work specification.
  4. Design or technical section has received all required ship drawings for keel block arrangement such as docking plan, general arrangement, mid-ship section, and shell expansion.
  5. Dock master has received and accepted the ship ballast condition.
  6. All required general services (shore power, telephone connection, cooling water, etc.) are available upon request.

Nomination Meeting

  • After the pre-arrival meeting with yard team the SRM will send an e-mail to the ship owner for the following:
  1. Introduce himself and provide his contact details.
  2. Clarify with customer representative of any unclear items or unavailable drawings in customer specifications resulting from detailed discussions with concerned yard departments during pre-arrival meeting.
  3. Data required prior to arrival such as updated ETA, Superintendent’s full contact details, Vessel’s local agent’s details, Vessel’s armory status/clearance? If so, confirm agent’s preparations/proceedings with local authorities.

After Ship Arrival

SRM Arrangement for Kick Off

The specifics of this job also come into play when you come to understand that meetings need to be dealt with straight away.

  • This meeting should take place on the first working day after ship arrival at the yard. The shipyard  manager should start the meeting by introducing himself as the yard in-charge person for the repairs. Additionally, he should give his telephone number to the owner’s representative, showing him he can be easily contacted during office hours or overnight in case of emergency.
  • The shipyard project manager should then introduce yard in-charge personnel attending the meeting starting with the yard safety officer.

Safety Meeting

Safety comes first and if you are a shipyard project manager, you have to keep that in mind.

  • The yard safety officer would then give a short description for yard safety rules and highlight the on-board safety procedures in particular.
  • The shipyard project manager must mention clearly that all orders have to be channeled through him only to avoid misunderstanding and to ensure that the order has been passed to the right department in the yard.
  • The shipyard project manager has to agree with the superintendent on a suitable time for daily on-board meetings.

Works Identification

Identification on site of specified works with the concerned department and agreement on technical aspects.

Daily Meeting On-Board

During this meeting, the shipyard project manager briefs the superintendent and ship crew on the progress of repair. This highlights the difficulties due to shortage of spares, lateness of decision, or unclear identification of various items.

All change orders should be discussed with the superintendent during this meeting before issuing them to production departments.

Ship Repair Division Management Meeting

The shipyard project manager has to report directly to the SRM senior manager. It should be as short as possible using the ship repair plan to highlight any delay.

Communication with Yard Departments

You will also need to be familiar with the departments of each shipyard so as to work in maximum harmony.

  • It is important to have your inspection early onboard the ship and in the yard workshop.
  • Give your instructions directly to the in-charge person clear and be specific.
  • Avoid as much as you can using the radio and phone to discuss or solve problems with an in-charge person; it should be face to face.
  • On completion of any items make your own inspection with the in-charge person. This is done before calling the superintendent or ship crew for final inspection.

Initiate the Change Order with Owner Approval

It is very important to prepare the change order to cover any deviation from the original specification. This should be done as soon as possible to avoid any misunderstanding.

Ship Dock in Follow-Up

You need to be able to make sure that the plans you put in place can be set in motion.

  • Request from the ship master the ship ballast condition with zero list and review it with concerned yard departments for approval.
  • Check with the dock master about the keel block arrangement progress.
  • Confirm with the ship master the yard docking plan (date and time).
  • Confirm with the ship master the ship machinery conditions such as mooring winches, generators, ship cranes, ballast pump, etc.
  • Follow up with yard pilot the entering progress.
  • Confirm with the ship master that the ship has received all required services inside the dock such as electrical shore connection, cooling connection, gangway, etc.

Work Follow-Up During Repair Period

Follow-up work in progress and schedule of repairs, identifying any deviations while processing eventual corrective measures to minimize idle time; maintain delivery dates and optimize the use of yard facilities/equipment.

Focusing on the Critical Items

A lot comes into play when you have the job of shipyard project manager, but you have to keep the following tasks in mind.

  • Steel work progress, especially inside the tanks.
  • Blasting and painting progress, especially tank treatment.
  • Spare parts supply or service arrangement by owner followed up at every meeting.
  • Spare parts supply or service arrangement by yard followed up with yard procurement at every moment.
  • Tested items such as load test, MPI, etc. are priority and expect test failure to affect the project’s progress.
  • Class item can affect repair progress because of class surveyor’s notifications and remarks.
  • Items on-hold by the owner are followed up with him at every meeting.
  • Additional works started immediately unless there are no spares or materials are needed for supply.
  • Ship undocking follow-up procedure.
  • Receive ballast condition from ship’s captain for yard dock master’s approval.
  • Ensure that the ship has received all the ballast water quantities required for undocking the ship safely.

Check Under Water Items

It is also crucial that you understand various procedures, in addition to the above items.

  • Sea valves and filters tighten in place.
  • Bottom plugs tighten in place and tested with vacuum tester.
  • Hull-painting, touch up, and marking completed.
  • Steel repair under water completed, tested, and approved by class.
  • Sea chest closes after owner inspection and approval.
  • Ballast valves tighten in place.
  • Lift up anchor and chains.
  • Rudder and propellers in place.
  • Echo sounder and speed log tested with vacuum tester.
  • Any other items that affect on ship undocking.

Un-Docking Follow-Up Procedure

When you are a shipyard project manager, procedures can be very specific. You have to make sure you achieve every step.

  • Ensure that all in-charge persons and their workers are available during the start of filling water in the dock.
  • Agree with yard dock master that before the ship becomes afloat to stop filling water. This is to check with in-charge person concerning any water leakage inside the engine and pump room.
  • In case there is water leakage, the shipyard project manager must directly contact the dock master to inform him; never start continuous filling of water till receiving shipyard  project manager’s final confirmation.
  • Once the ship becomes afloat, the shipyard project manager asks the chief engineer to start the ship’s generator.
  • After ship generator is running, the shipyard project manager has to give the order to disconnect shore power.
  • The shipyard project manager will leave the ship after he is sure that all yard personnel are on shore.

Sea Trial Follow-Up Procedure

You also must ensure that you are thorough with your job even when certain tasks have been accomplished.

  • Sea trial is carried out by ship crew and ship yard personnel. This is to check the condition of main engine and anything attached to it (governor, turbocharger, etc.).
  • The shipyard project manager will attend the trial to coordinate between the yard in-charge person. They also make sure that the ship is ready for delivery without any problems.

Work Completion Reports Follow-Up for Invoicing

The shipyard project manager will coordinate between yard production departments. They also try to get feedback on the work completion report.

Invoicer/Estimator Final Negotiation

Attend the final bill negotiation with the ship repair estimator and ship technical superintendent. This confirms that all items carried out by the yard are in the final bill. There should be no doubt between the ship owner and yard estimator.

Change Orders Form

  • This form materializes when the project has work variation from the original repair specification or new additional job. Used for work cancelation.
  • It should include all clear technical information such as:
  1. Material specification.
  2. The quantity, Length X wide X Dia.
  3. Equipment makers and serial No.
  4. Type of services like overhauling or overhauling, etc.

Services & Safety Requirements Form

Safety is crucial and it is also your top priority as a shipyard project manager.

  • This form materializes before ship arrival. Prepared by the SRM with all general services required for the project.
  • Hand it over to the services department in order to arrange services upon ship arrival at yard.
  • Return it back to the SRM with ship master’s confirmation of services receipt.

Ballast & De-ballast Request Form

You also need to be able to deal with ship masters accordingly.

  • This form materializes when the SRM receives the ballast condition from the ship master.
  • Hand it over to the concerned department for arranging all the required accordingly.
  • Return it back to the SRM upon operation completion with ship master’s confirmation of receipt of all ballast quantities.

Services for the Owner

You also need to be able to differentiate between what your responsibilities are and what the owner’s are.

  • Yard policy states that the ship owner cannot carry out any services on-board during the repair period. This is the case unless the shipyard allows it.
  • The SRM is to issue this form after getting his manager’s confirmation.

Ship Equipment/Materials Off- Loading Form

You also need to familiarize yourself with the equipment and materials of the ship.

  • During the repair period, ship owners make a request to the ship yard. They request off-loading certain equipment or materials for various reasons until ship repair concludes. Also, this form involves scarp disposal.
  • It’s important for the SRM use it in order to avoid any misunderstandings at the end of the project.

Exemption of Liability

This form issued by the SRM after receiving the condition report from the concerned department. It includes technical remarks indicating if the equipment is good or beyond repair; hand it over to the ship owner for decision making.

A lot involves your job as a shipyard project manager. Once you can be familiar with every aspect of the job, you can set yourself up to succeed.

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