Ensuring the health and operability of the machinery on board a ship is a top priority for ship owners. Failing to do so can compromise the ship’s safety and smooth functioning. This is starkly evident from a study by Allianz (AGCS) that points out that more than a third (8,862) of shipping incidents are caused due to machinery damage or breakdown.

Maintaining the equipment and the overall structure of a ship is no easy task. Since it is a massive vehicle there needs to be a properly charted out procedure in place that anticipates the need for maintenance before an incident happens. Let us look at what constitutes ship maintenance.

What is Ship Maintenance?

A ship maintenance plan aims to get the most amount of repair and maintenance work done in the least amount of time and cost. Maintenance activities include keeping the machinery up to date and in a smooth condition which ensures that the ship is seaworthy. With proper maintenance, the ship has prolonged life, and higher efficiency and prevents the breakdown of its machinery.

Ship maintenance is carried out in a well-planned manner. There are two different approaches to carrying out maintenance – reactive and proactive. Reactive maintenance is carried out once the incident has occurred. A proactive approach has a planned and preventive aspect to it. Maintenance procedures are carried out following strict safety and prevention regulations from certifying bodies.

General Steps in Ship Maintenance

A detailed plan is charted out specifying the tasks and protocol to follow, its frequency, and follow-up work to be done. These steps aim to increase the efficiency of the ship and its equipment, keep track of every incident, and prevent it to avoid unexpected downtime. The different aspects of a ship’s maintenance procedure involves:

  • Collecting Information: These include assembly schematics, protocols and instructions on the upkeep and replacing of parts in machinery. It is provided by the machinery manufacturer. 
  • Planning: A plan is charted out where the different maintenance tasks are scheduled. Maintenance work that needs to be done in the drydock is planned accordingly. 
  • Assigning Duties: Duties as assigned to the specific crew members according to their skill and designation. Administrative inspections are given priority. 
  • Execution: The maintenance plan is executed by the Chief Engineer. Crew members carry out their assigned duties, Maintenance tasks are recorded in the maintenance log for future reference.
  • Analysis: The maintenance log is used to analyze the ship’s conditions and to make arrangements for future purposes.

Types of Ship Maintenance Procedures

There are three main types of maintenance procedures. They are preventative or planned maintenance systems, corrective or breakdown maintenance systems, and condition-based maintenance systems.

Preventive or Planned Maintenance System (PMS): This system is carried out in specific intervals of time like 6 months or as per running hours. The maintenance is carried out whether or not the machinery is in working condition. This is a proactive approach. 

 Breakdown or Corrective Maintenance: In this method, the maintenance work is carried out only when an incident happens. This is not an ideal way for maintenance and can lead to unexpected downtime. 

 Condition Maintenance system: The machinery and its health are constantly monitored to determine when maintenance is required. This system requires additional sensors to constantly get readings from the machinery.

How a Ship Maintenance Software Helps

A ship maintenance software is specifically designed to manage the maintenance works on a ship. It creates automated workflows, analyzes data fed into it, schedules work allocations, and creates detailed reports of the maintenance procedure. It has many features that ease the maintenance procedure.

Shipmate, the Ideal Maintenance Software

Shipmate is a leading provider of planned maintenance software (PMS) to shipping companies across the world. Class certified by Bureau Veritas, Shipmate PMS comes with an extensive range of features that help marine fleet owners to perform maintenance of their vessels optimally and in accordance with manufacturers and class/classification society requirements. Get in touch with us to learn more about how Shipmate PMS can help your shipping business, or you can also book a free demo.