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4.6 DECK MAINTENANCE

The loaded passage provides the best opportunity to complete many of the tasks in the tankers preventive maintenance program, along with necessary inspections and routine checks.

4.6.1 Inspections
The chief officer should make a daily inspection of the ship during the loaded passage, dividing the ship up into sections and carefully examining each section in detail. The object of these inspections is to:
Discover defects in the ship's equipment.
Verify the correct completion of ongoing maintenance work.
Add to the crew's maintenance work list.
Record those items which are beyond the capability of the ship's crew to undertake efficiently.

Items beyond the capability of the crew must be properly submitted to owners for port turnaround repair or addition to shipyard work list.
The inspections must be conducted with notebook and pencil at hand so that each deficiency can be noted. Junior officers should offer to accompany the chief officer on these inspections, on their own account, for the task of making a good inspection is not as easy as it may seem. It is one thing to look at a ship's component and another thing to look at it with the 'critical eye' of an experienced chief officer. Everything which falls within his gaze must be examined with questions: Is this right? Are these meter readings correct? What will happen here if we have flooding, violent rolling, a fire, or a collision? Does this work as it should?
Some of the inspections are more critical than others. The pumproom and the lifesaving equipment are two of the most important. The safety of crew, vessel and cargo depend on maintaining all cargo and safety equipment in a fully efficient condition at all times. Every part and component on a tanker is there for a purpose and every part must be regularly inspected to see that it is functional.

4.6.2 Deck machinery
Weather and seas permitting, the mooring winches should be maintained according to the PM program. This should include a regular program of winch brake testing, using a dynamometer rig. The results of the brake holding power tests are recorded in the deck maintenance record. Winches with deficient holding power should be adjusted, or added to the ship's in-port or shipyard repair list.
The anchor windlass and mooring winches should have any leaks in the steam system repaired, or defects in hydraulic controls attended to. Check carefully the condition of the hydraulic oil filters. If the vessel has a lubricant test program, see that necessary samples are drawn from equipment as scheduled, properly labelled and sent to the testing laboratory or to owners for analysis.
Mooring winch wires should be carefully inspected and repaired as necessary, with new eye splices made and new wire tails shackled in as necessary.
Roller and swivel chocks should be lubricated and checked for free movement.

4.6.3 Lifesaving appliances
It is a sad commentary on the competence of some crews and the interest or some ship owners, that many lifeboats are neglected between certificate inspections to the point where they are unserviceable. The chief officer and all on board should have a lively interest in seeing that the lifeboats and all lifesaving equipment are in top condition. Davits, winches, blocks, releases, hull, engine and all equipment should be exercised regularly and maintained as if someone's life depended on it! The same is true for the attention given to the life rafts, light floats, lifeboat radio, flares, etc.
Putting off maintenance until the trip before flag state inspection could be a fatal mistake.

4.6.4 Other deck maintenance
Other deck maintenance items include the watertight doors, cofferdams, standing and running rigging, gangways, accommodation and pilot ladders, deck maintenance tools, tank cleaning air hoists, tank cleaning machines and fire fighting equipment. Some of the mechanical work is shared with the engineering department and close cooperation will be necessary to effectively schedule all that needs to be done.
Removing rust and re-coating the ship's steelwork is a task which is now largely beyond the ability of today's size crews on today's size tankers. However, in the accommodation and principal operating areas, the crew must maintain the vessel's protective coatings to the best of their ability.

4.6.5 Shipyard work list items
Whenever the chief officer finds a vessel defect or condition which is beyond the ability of his personnel to repair or correct, he must prepare a defect report and repair recommendation for the owners. These repair recommendations will be forwarded by the master to the owner's repair department where they will be evaluated and scheduled for repair in port, repair by a riding squad assigned to the ship, or added to the list of items for the next shipyard period. The shipyard repair list should be started immediately after departure from the previous shipyard and added to as defects are discovered. In this way, the owner's engineering/repair department will have a clear picture of the condition of the vessel and will, when the time comes, have a scope of work for their shipyard inquiries ready at hand.

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