A proper maintenance system is integral to the smooth functioning and safety of a ship. Maintaining machinery and equipment to meet the required standards of operability is the most important aspect of the day-to-day activities on a ship.

It is safe to say that an ideal maintenance plan optimises the performance of the ship, at the least possible cost and in the least possible time. Thus it is important to plan a maintenance model that suits the needs of the ship and at the same time complies with international laws and regulations on the ship’s seaworthiness.

Before we dive into the main topic of how the maintenance plan of a ship is made, let’s first look at the main goals of a maintenance plan.

 An Ideal Maintenance Plan Should Have the Following Objectives

  • Increase the efficiency of the vessel
  • Optimum use of finances
  • Use the least amount of time
  • Compliance with laws and regulations 
  • Reduce unexpected downtime

Factors That Determine The Right Maintenance Procedure

 There are different types of maintenance procedures to choose from. However, a shipping company may choose a particular type, say a planned maintenance system over a condition-based maintenance system. Several factors determine how a certain plan is chosen.

  • The maintenance guidelines as per the manufacturer and as per the ISM code are taken into account
  • Age of the ship, history of its critical equipment and systems
  • Interval of time required between two maintenance cycles.

 These are some of the major factors considered before a maintenance plan is charted out.

When and Why Maintenance Has to Be Done?

As we have roughly given out what constitutes a maintenance plan, there are critical elements to it that need to be elaborated. These are some of the guiding aspects of a maintenance plan. 

  • When? 

It is necessary to study and stipulate a period between two maintenance cycles. This will help answer when maintenance has to be carried out. 

  • Why?

The criteria by which the machinery and equipment are inspected, the frequency of inspection and the type of inspection are to be known. This will help chart a maintenance plan that caters to the situation. 

Deciding an Interval 

 Periodic maintenance has to be carried out for optimum functioning of a ship. But what determines the period between two maintenance cycles? 

 One way of deciding this is to follow the guidelines for intervals as specified by an external entity. It may be the ones laid out by the company or the manufacturer’s recommendation and specifications. 

 It can also be decided based on the predictive techniques which can help determine when maintenance is required. The history of the vessel and its equipment and the practical knowledge of experienced marine engineers can also come in handy. 

 The condition of the equipment can also help in determining a maintenance period interval. Based on the readings obtained by monitoring equipment, the operational restrictions posed by faulty equipment also determine when maintenance is required.

Final Words

The above-mentioned points are to be considered while creating a maintenance plan. Systematic implementation of maintenance has to take into account all of these aspects.  The use of well-designed planned maintenance software (PMS) can optimise the work and increase the performance efficiency of the ship. Shipmate PMS is a purpose-built tool that helps shipping companies of all stripes stay on top of their ship maintenance, streamline maintenance workflows, and ensure safe and efficient ship operation, while reaping crucial business and revenue benefits. Interested to know more about Shipmate PMS and watch a demo of how it works? Get in touch with us today!