The Republic of the Marshall Islands has issued a Marine Safety Advisory about the detentions in China due to maneuverability issues.
As informed, the Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator continues to receive reports of ships unable to maneuver in high-density traffic or narrow waters in China. The incidents occur for various reasons. Some reported to date this year are listed below.
- Following extensive main engine repairs, a ship sailed from a shipyard in Nantong and while underway the engine slowed and could not increase speed. The pilot dropped anchor at Baoshan for further investigation. Two main engine fuel oil puncture valves were found defective. The local Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) carried out a port State control (PSC) inspection resulting in detention of the ship.
- On departure from Zhangjiagang while underway in the Yangtze River, two running diesel generator engines tripped and disconnected from the main switchboard due to low frequency. It was found that the fuel oil change over procedure was incorrect. Consequently, the fuel oil overheated, resulting in a vapor lock that affected the fuel pumps’ performance causing a lower rpm and frequency. The local MSA carried out a PSC inspection resulting in detention of the ship.
- A ship was shifting to anchorage at Taicang. It had nearly crossed the main channel when the pilot instructed the crew to prepare the port anchor. Due to the poor brake condition, the port anchor ran out damaging the windlass. The local MSA instructed the ship to cast off the anchor and re-berth. Though the Company had known of this condition and planned repairs, they had not informed Class, the Administrator, the coastal State, or the pilot of this condition prior to the incident. The local MSA carried out a PSC inspection resulting in detention of the ship.
- A ship reported problems with the main engine governor resulting in using the engine side controls. This was acknowledged by the Administrator. Unfortunately, this was not reported directly to the local MSA as instructed by the Administrator. When the defect was discovered during a PSC inspection at Shanghai, the ship was detained.
These incidents show the importance of good maintenance for all main and auxiliary machinery with robust testing prior to entering any area of high-density traffic or narrow waters in China.
It that regard, Marshal Islands reminds shipowners, operators, and Masters that:
- Proper main engine and steering gear testing is required when repairs have been completed. This should be done prior to entering any area of high-density traffic or narrow waters.
- Crew should be familiar with the fuel oil change over procedures when entering or exiting Sulphur Emission Control Areas, and in dealing with any emergency situations.
- When equipment or machinery is found faulty, in addition to reporting to Class or the Administrator as required by the International Convention for the Safety of Life At Sea, the coastal State and local MSA should be promptly notified.
- Shanghai MSA has made an Announcement on strengthening the safety management of ships with machinery failure which is available on their website in Chinese language only.
- Any inability to maneuver or loss of propulsion incident in China must be reported by the Master directly to the local authorities and to the Administrator.
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