Inspection and Maintenance of Ship and Equipment:


Items to cover include Hull, Bulkheads, DBs, Deep and Peak tanks, Bilges, Pipelines, rudders, Anchors, Cables. Davits, safety equipment, derricks and other cargo gear, Navigation lights, A practical knowledge of screening of Navigational lights.






No known cracks, buckling or defects in the decks, bulkheads, cargo holds, shell plating, top side

tanks,  ballast  tanks,  tanktop  plating  Forepeaks and chain lockers checked for wastage

Hatch cover mechanism checked for hydraulic leaks Hold access ladders checked for damage and wastage Mooring Arrangements:

Anchors and chain cables in good condition, properly stowed, hawse pipe and chain pipe covers in place

Windlass and mooring winches checked with respect to brake linings, guards, wastage of foundations, operating controls, hydraulic leaks

Mooring ropes and wires in good condition Fairleads in good condition and rollers free











Load line marks including the deck line, and draught marks, all clearly visible and correctly marked

Ship with timber load line markings, timber fittings in good condition

Air pipes checked for damage and wastage, including condition of closing devices and flame screens

Cargo tank openings, covers and screens checked for damage and wastage Lifelines in good condition

Weathertight doors checked for condition; e.g. corrosion, buckling of door and hinges, deterioration of gasket retaining channel, missing/deteriorated gasket & missing/frozen/corroded dogs/cleats/weather-water tightness

Main cargo hatch coamings & coaming stays checked for condition, e.g. corrosion & damage

Main hatch covers & access hatch covers checked for condition; e.g. corrosion &damage, deterioration/damage to retaining channels, missing/deteriorated gasket and missing/frozen/corroded dogs/cleats/weather-water tightness

Windows, side scuttles and skylights checked for condition





1. Corrosion – Also considered as ‘material wastage’, it is the lead cause for structural deformations and fracturing. It is by far the most ‘popular’ of all other defects directly related to steel and its components. If left unattended, corrosion is a disaster waiting to happen; either by cargo or fuel oil contamination, structural losses, pollution and finally possible loss of the ship itself.

  1. Deformation – It is a sub-component defect caused due to damage of steel platings or material failure. It could be a change in shape or physical disfigurement of steel that is caused either by implosion (caused due to vacuum build up in tanks) or explosion, excessive dynamic (wave bending / loading) as well as static stress (ship’s hogging and sagging conditions)and strains onto the steel structures, and likewise. It should be noted that deformations observed on the ship’s hull are more likely to affect structures on the interior too.



  1. Fractures – This is due to propagation of cracks through the steel plating, which have been left unattended, obviously. Most of it occurs due to excessive stress concentrated on weakened steel plates throughout the tanks’ dimensions. There have been many cases where inspectors have arrested ships, especially bulk carriers, where imminent cracks (mainly due to concentration of stress) through the cargo areas have been observed. Welding defects have also been observed to be the cause of fractures.





  1. Assessing the overall condition – Immediately on entering the enclosed space one can figure out the tank’s well being by considering the state of the access ways and the ladders, paint coatings, and by closely observing areas susceptible to corrosion such as near the weld joints. Rungs, step ways and ladders are often the foremost members that are exposed to deterioration due to oxidation. The competent officer should examine the material wastage throughout the set of access ways and related components. An overall study of the paint coating would permit the competent person to estimate how the tank has reacted to general corrosion. For easy identification of loop holes, the paint applied on the surface is generally light in colour. Thereby, re-coated areas can be easily spotted, should be re-checked for coating failure or for scaling or pitting in the vicinity.




  1. Condition of corrosion levels – General corrosion appears to be as a non- protected oxidation that tends to crop up homogeneously on internal surfaces of the holds or tanks which have been left uncoated. The corroded scale frequently breaks off, revealing the bare metal, which is susceptible to corrosive attack. In tanks and holds that have been coated, corrosion starts affecting the moment the coating starts breaking down. Determining thickness reduction in the steel plates is difficult unless excessive shrinking has occurred.

Careful examination should be carried out in areas such as – in the vicinity of sounding pipes and striker plates, openings for the air vents and tank gauging, internal piping including expansion joints, dressor coupling and related fittings / joints / clamps, near the operational valves within the tanks, bilges and tank top areas, underside of hatch coamings / tank openings, bulkheads in general, joints associated with girders, web frames, etc.





  1. Condition of ‘sacrificial’ anodes fitted inside the tank – Normally such anodes are made up of zinc among other elements and provide an excellent preventive measures to fight corrosion within the tanks, especially the ballast tanks. Due to their sacrificial nature, the anodes, over a period of time get ‘wasted’. Hence, in order to maintain their integrity, anodes have to be checked and inspected closely for excessive wear and tear. A record of material wastage should be maintained for future examining. One must also inspect whether the anodes are well secured to the brackets provided.





  1. Checking for Damages / Cracks / Deformations – Adequate lighting in the tanks is necessary for the inspection work and for identifying deformations or surface dents. Shadows are one of the best indicators to highlight any buckling or cracks within the tanks. However this may not be the case for darker paint coatings (Coal Tar Epoxy, for example) where the tanks have to be lit up to the max in order to locate the defects. Deformations may generally not be readily obvious when viewed over a larger area. To identify this, it is good idea to highlight the area using a high beam torch by projecting it parallel to the surface. Where it is difficult to identify defects in a straight line by the torch, the old school method of using a length of string or rope could be considered for determining the obscured deformations on the surfaces. Buckling is another condition of large deformations which can be caused due to a diminutive increase in loads. Permanent buckling may arise due to overloading weak structures (read – corrosion or contact damage)





  1. Pitting corrosion and blister formation – Pitting Corrosion is often known to be observed in the bottom plating of ballast tanks especially near the ‘bell- mouth’, near the in a liquid cargo tank, or next to suction wells associated with the submerged pumps fitted within the tanks. Pitting Corrosion begins mostly with the local breakdown of the coatings, exposing the bare metal, and thereby getting accentuated by oxidation and galvanic reactions in the area. Blister formation is a common site in areas where the surface preparation is inadequate prior to application of paint coats or for some reason the coating failed to adhere to the surface. The officer must be on look out for these unwary bumps on the tank surfaces that may act as alibi to the mounting decay underneath.




  1. Condition of Mud or Sludge Build Up – Accumulation of mud and oily sludge in the tanks could be detrimental in terms of hiding away serious defects and also to promote development of structural deterioration underneath the horizontal / parallel surfaces. Therefore, it is highly recommended to remove the excess debris prior any tank inspection, this means washing the crude oil tanks enough in order to visibly locate the defects, or physically hosing down the mud accretion in ballast tanks. This also aids in identifying any bottom shell pitting corrosion or deformations.





CHAIN REGISTER:As we all are aware of the fact, safety is probably THE MOST important aspect at sea. While direct safety pertains to life and the manpower involved, safety of the equipment also obviously correlates with the former. All machinery systems are subject to failure at some level and therefore it is extremely important to carry out and keep a record of tests and examination carried out on the myriad tools and machineries used onboard.

A record of the particulars of test and examination of lifting appliances, loose gear and heat (annealing) should be entered and maintained in the register of machinery, chains, wire ropes etc. called the Chain Register.

It is a blue coloured booklet also referred to as Form 99. The chain register is divided into three parts:



  1. Part 1 – Initial and periodical load test of lifting appliances and their annual thorough examination
  2. Part 2 – Initial and periodical load test of loose gear and their annual thorough examination
  3. Part 3 – Annealing of chains, rings, hooks, shackles and swivels (other than those that are exempted)

The ones that are exempted are as follows:

  1. Chains made of cast iron
  2. Plate link chain
  3. Chains, rings, hooks, shackles and swivels made of steel
  4. Pulley blocks
  5. Hooks and swivels having screw threaded parts or ball bearings





The tests, examinations and inspections included in the Register are based on the requirements of the ILO Convention No. 152 . The purpose of this is to ensure that the vessel’s lifting appliances are initially certified by a competent person and also to establish periodically that they continue to be in safe working order. Certificates shall be obtained from a competent person with respect to the tests and attached to the register.

No such appliances or gear shall be used for dock work unless the entries are made in the register along with the certificates of test and examination to supplement them are attached. Each and every cargo gear must be marked with their safe working load as per their certificate, conspicuously.

With respect to the testing of items such as chains, swivels etc., the term annealing has been used. Annealing is the process of heating and subsequent cooling to achieve ductility, softness and to relieve any internal stresses. The metal is heated to about 20- 30 degrees above the critical point.After awhile at this temperature, it is cooled slowly at a gradual rate.


Deck lifting equipment such as gantry cranes, general cargo crane, provision crane, derrick etc. help in carrying heavy loads/cargo on board ships. As these deck machinery systems are subjected to continuous loading, their parts wear down at a faster rate, thus requiring maintenance at regular intervals of time. Inability to do so can lead to system failure, unfortunate accidents, and loss of lives and property.

Safe Working Load Value (SWL): Ensure to operate all the lifting equipment below their Safe Working Load Value (SWL) marked on the lifting equipment body. The only time the SWL of any lifting equipment is allowed to be crossed the limit is during load testing.

Certificates: All lifting appliances on ships must have valid certificates which are certified by a competent shore body. These certificates ensure that the lifting equipment are in the right condition to carry heavy loads.





Efficient Lubrication: Ensure that all the required parts of the lifting equipment are well lubricated and hydraulic oil is at the minimum marked level. Periodic maintenance of such machinery is extremely important for efficient lubrication and running of moving parts.

Check the Wires: The wire of the lifting appliances must be checked and renewed at required intervals of time. Wire deformation, corrosion, stranding etc. must be checked and if the defects require repair, the wires must be renewed before using the lifting gear.

Securing Clamp: Ensure that the securing clamp is fitted in the hook whenever a load is lifted in order to avoid slippage. Also, check that it is not in defective condition and is also provided with a spring loaded system, which will not open even when the load exerts pressure on the hook.



Check for Cracks in the Base: The load bear by the lifting equipment is transferred to the ships structure via foundation. Check the base/ foundation of the lifting equipment for any kind of cracks or deformation to avoid material failure.








1.Both chain locker manhole covers located on forward bulkhead of cargo hold, shall be removed. The Chain lockers shall be thoroughly ventilated and certified safe for personnel to enter.

Port And Starboard anchors and anchor cables, shall be ranged (ranging the anchor chain means to flake out, on deck or pier)in the dock for hydro-blast cleaning, oiling and inspections. After both anchors and cables are ranged on the dock floor, both chain locker access covers shall be removed and both cable bitter ends let go.

Before oiling, cables shall be hydro-blasted.

Both anchors shall be abrasive blasted completely to bare metal and given one coat of Primer. The anchors to be turned as required to ensure that all bare metal is coated satisfactorily.





Anchor shackle pins shall be removed for examination. Upon reassemble, new taper pins shall be fitted. Joining shackles shall be painted red with equal numbers of white links painted on either side. The number of white links will correspond with the number of shots beginning from the anchor joining shackles. The outer end links of each white painted set shall be marked with seizing wire close hitched around the link stud.

Check bilge pumping system piping for the chain locker is clear and operable upon completion of work.












Davit structure should be checked properly with particular regard to corrosion, especially behind head.

Misalignment, deformation and excessive free play of the sheaves should be tested carefully.

Damage to wire and sheaves because of corrosion and kinks should be inspected carefully.

Hydraulic system should be in proper working conditions. Working of all limit switches

Have a careful look on the stored power system including a check on the capacity.

Checking of fall wire for correct termination of ends. Examination of fall wire end for replacement of wire.

Check the condition of remote control wires and pulley carefully.


All the vessels are required to perform proof load testing of the launching appliances as well as on-load release mechanism of all lifeboats at the intervals not exceeding 5 years.











In order to ensure that all parts of lifting equipment and related equipment are kept in good repair and working order, regular preventative maintenance should be carried out. Checks should look for general material defects such as cracks, distortion, corrosion and wear and tear that could affect safe working load and overall strength.





some suggested maintenance items:-

  1. Greasing should be thorough and frequent, as dry bearings impose additional loads that can lead to failure.
  2. The condition of all ropes and chains should be checked regularly for wear, damage and corrosion and replaced as necessary.
  • Shackles, links and rings should be renewed when wear or damage is evident.
  1. Structures should be examined frequently for corrosion, cracks, distortion and wear of bearings, securing points etc.
  2. Hollow structures such as gantries or masts should be checked for trapped water inside. If water is found, the structure should be drained, appropriately treated and then sealed.




some suggested maintenance items (Contd.):-

  1. Regular function tests of controls, stops, brakes, safety devices for hoisting gear etc, should be carried out preferably before the start of operations.

Additional items may be appropriate dependant upon the equipment fitted to an individual vessel.





All hatch covers should be properly maintained. Defective or damaged covers should be replaced/repaired as soon as possible. All covers and beams should only be used if they are a good fit and overlap their end supports to an extent which is adequate but not excessive. Hatch coaming drain channels and associated compression bars must always be well maintained and, most importantly, be free of rust. Heavily worn or corroded compression bars will damage the hatch lid rubbers and may not properly seal the hatch. Hatch wheels should be kept greased and free from dirt and the coaming runways and the drainage channels kept clean. The rubber sealing joints should be properly secured and be in good condition so as to provide a proper weathertight seal.




















Maintenance of Ship Navigation lights: Following safety procedures must be followed before doing any maintenance work on ship navigation lights: Prepare the work permit

Put the lock out tag and inform the officer who is on duty

Try to do the routine maintenance when the ship is in the port Before climbing up the main mast, take the working aloft permit Switch off the radars and take out the fuses

Disable the power supply of the nearby ship whistle

Switch off any other communication devices as the antennas, which are usually located near the mast, generate radiations harmful for humans While working on navigation lights at sea, check the wind flow meter for wind speed and direction. If the wind is heavy avoid climbing on the mast Check for rolling and pitching of the ship. If it’s too much, don’t climb the mast





Maintenance of Ship Navigation lights: Periodically check the light fittings for leakage of water

Ensure to apply water resistant material like silicon or putty whenever the light fitting is opened up for replacing the bulbs

Visually, check inside the casing for any salt formation. If salt formation is found, it means that the sea water has penetrated inside.

Take fine clothes and cleaners for cleaning the glasses of the light fittings for good illumination/signaling

Check the light holders inside the fittings for corrosion or fungus formation

Use the contact cleaners for cleaning purpose whenever the light fitting is opened up Ensure to use vibration absorber material like rubber gasket material wherever possible. While working on the navigation lights, check for any loose nut bolts and holders. Tighten and secure them whenever necessary.

Use washers where nut bolts are used in light fixtures to avoid loosening of the nuts Clamp the structure where the light fixture is installed.