CHIRP has received reports of hazardous occurrences that related to omissions in the maintenance of equipment or failure of equipment.
A) The adjustable bolt on the brake system of the Starboard mooring winch was tightly secured in the wrong position. When checking all other bolts, three were found to be in same incorrect position. The error meant the operation of this winch was very difficult. Whilst there had been no incident, there was a risk of serious Injury to crew during mooring operations.
Corrective action: paint and rust was removed from the bolts and these were adjusted to the correct position. The Planned Maintenance System should now include the checking of the position of the bolts at least two times per year and a check of the remaining (permissible) thickness of the friction material on the brake band.
B) During the inspection of the ballast pump room compartment and main engine room compartment, where each space is protected with CO2 smothering, it was noted the warning sign – ”In Case of CO2 Alarm proceed immediately to escape this compartment” was absent. Lessons Learned: adequate warning signs to be posted near to the CO2 Alarm Horn and on all of the doors to these compartments.
C) During routine inspection of the engine room, the suction valve on the exhaust gas boiler circulation pump was found to have a large leakage. Any contact with the high temperature water would cause serious injury to crew members in the vicinity. The valve was replaced with a spare. The leakage should have been recorded in the Engine Room log book.
D) A ballast water tank vent had a broken steel shaft on the vent float. The shaft had broken when the float was clogged and became stuck inside the vent cowling.
The device is “an automatic closing device” as required by the International Load Line Convention Reg 20 (3). When it is dry it remains open; in the event of the deck flooding to the height of the closing device, the float rises up the spindle and prevents water entering the ballast/fuel tank during heavy weather. The cargo, fuel and ballast tank vent systems should be included in the Planned Maintenance System; the date and frequency of any inspections, with any changes recorded and retained on file.
Whilst CHIRP makes no comment on the efficacy of the corrective actions proposed in the above cases, the reports show the value of a good inspection programme supervised by senior deck and engineer officers and shows the importance of routine inspections of equipment in all working and service areas.
CHIRP would like to see more reports on hazardous occurrences relating to machinery. Engineers and maintenance staff are encouraged to submit more reports; any safety lessons learned can be shared for the benefit of other seafarers.