The Significance of Vessel Inspection Services in Performance of Ships

Seas and oceans are nothing but a big and massive expanse of water, and numerous types of ships cover the long-distance over them. Ships and vessels are enormous structures that are specifically designed considering several factors. The construction of ships depends on the type and purpose; some common types of ships include passenger ships, container ships, bulk carriers, and cruise ships.

Periodic inspections and surveys are performed to ensure the seaworthiness and safety of ships and other big vessels that travel long distances. There are numerous guidelines and rules defined by maritime laws that ensure proper inspections and maintenance are carried out.

The Importance of Vessel Inspection

The maritime laws are revised each year and become stringent regarding inspection and surveys of seagoing vessels. The ships and vessels go through a series of inspection activities to ensure that all the requirements for vessels to become seaworthy are performed efficiently. The periodical surveys and inspections are compulsory and done in compliance with international laws and regulations. A professional company performs inspections and certifications that include operational and functional maintenance.

The main purpose of the inspection is to reduce any accident or unfortunate incident and also pollution to the maritime environment. There are various aspects of inspection, from analyzing the technical components that determine the stability of the ship, hull inspections, and maritime pollution control and prevention. The main issues that are addressed during the inspection are

  • Ropes and wires in dilapidated condition can impact the safety of the vessel
  • Numerous electrical issues and problems
  • Missing components and parts of various operational parts
  • Lack of proper sanitary facilities
  • Missing or insufficient personal protective equipment
  • Problems with electrical units that include heating, air conditioning, and ventilation
  • Cleanliness of the entire vessel
  • Structural defects such as cracks and corrosion

If widespread faults are noticed during the inspection, then a governing authority can impose expensive fines and even withdraw certification for the particular vessel. Therefore, the ship or vessel owners employ vessel inspection services from an expert company that deals and performs numerous inspection tasks.

Why Numerous Surveys are Performed Regularly

Annual servicing and maintenance are performed according to given classification codes and rules. An inspection company designs and develops a checklist of tasks that makes it easy to manage the inspection and surveys effectively. Even an additional survey is often carried out to detect any minor or major fault in the critical equipment or part of the vessel. Some of the faults include hull damage, malfunctioning of the water separator, steering gear issues, and steel renewal.

After faults are identified, proper repair and replacement is carried out, and then a thorough inspection is performed so that a certificate can be re-endorsed or reissued. The surveys that cover extensive vessel’s equipment are called ‘dry dock surveys’ where all the operational and functional maintenance is performed.

A ‘safety construction survey determines the vessel’s structural integrity,’ and it is done to access the amount of corrosion or rust to the hull or deck of the vessel. The drainage systems, watertight doors, fire protection equipment, anchors and chains, ropes, and steam lines are also checked.

A load line survey is also carried out to figure out any cracks or deformations in the hull or various openings of the vessel, such as hatches, deck lines, or watertight doors. There are numerous safety equipment and accessories placed on the ship inspected carefully, from ropes to lifejackets. Fires can also break out on the deck in the control room and be extinguished using proper equipment. The firefighting extinguishers and equipment is checked and maintained.

The inspection and maintenance tasks are specified to be carried weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. A safety manager is responsible for visiting the ship and determine that all the operational and safety guidelines are followed or not. The safety manager determines if the vessel is

  • Ready to operate
  • All the equipment is working properly or not
  • The type of safety equipment and its use in case of emergency
  • The accuracy of navigation equipment

The Importance of Internal Audit and Hull Inspection

Apart from surveys and inspection, every few years, the vessel owners, managers, and operators may decide for an internal audit to determine if the vessel complies with the maritime rules and other safety and pollution prevention guidelines. The internal audit is key to ensure that documented procedures and instructions are carried out during the scheduled surveys and inspection. During the audit, the vessel’s crew and workers may also be questioned about their understanding and key facts on the functioning of the vessel.

One of the essential procedures during the inspection stage is the ‘hydrostatic test’, where different pressure vessels are tested for cracks, leaks, and strength. Another important step is ‘hull inspection’, where experienced divers are sent under the water to removes the sea branches and weeds to inspect the hull.

The significance of training and sending divers increased as the vessels got bigger and sophisticated. The main goal of divers is to identify a potential leak, the damage that could be resolved, and ships could travel long distances without any trouble. Most of the ships carry numerous cargo that needs to be delivered on time and safely.

The hull’s structure and condition directly affect the operational performance of the ship, and minor cracks, leaks, or dents can convert into a bigger problem that would be costly and time-consuming to resolve. Below the sea, numerous obstructions are not visible to the eye, and the ship may hit the object and cause damage the hull.

Emergency inspections are performed when a ship may hit an object underfloor and confirm if any damage has occurred to the hull section. Apart from divers, remotely operated underwater vehicles, also known as ‘ROVs’, are used to inspect the condition and safety of the hull.

Certain aqua culturists and marine biologists analyze the travel of ships over vast regions and inspect the impact on the hull and another part of the ship. One solution is high-quality paint to the hull that can help to withstand changing water temperatures, pressures, and currents at sea.

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