AUTHORITIES have emphasised the importance of quality maintenance following the grounding of the Bow Singapore in Port Phillip Bay last year.
The grounding occurred on the afternoon of August 19, 2016, as the ship proceeded through the South Channel.
According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, as the ship neared the eastern end of the South Channel, the rudder stopped responding and became stuck at five degrees to port.
The ship then began swinging towards the edge of the channel.
Steering was restored a little later but, despite the efforts of the pilot, the ship grounded about 4.15pm. The ship was later re-floated in the early hours with the aid of the rising tide and a tug. It was then able to anchor and sail to Geelong for discharge.
Divers inspected the hull but found no damage.
“The company’s procedures for a steering gear failure required a change in operation from the bridge to local emergency operation from the steering gear room,” the Bureau found.
“However, the procedures did not include the steps to be taken on the bridge prior to that change, such as using non follow-up mode and changing to alternate telemotor and/or pump systems.”
According to the Bureau, the maintenance system for the steering gear failed to include or contain any schedules for any detailed inspections or scheduled parts replacement.
“In addition, the hydraulic system port and starboard solenoids were painted green and red respectively, to match the side of the ship that each is on when mounted on the shuttle valve,” the Bureau reported.
“However, this was opposite to the direction the rudder would move when they were operated.”
In its summary, the ATSB said it was critical to have a well-formulated maintenance plan for equipment, particularly when it related to the safe operation of a ship.
For equipment, particularly that which is critical to the safe operation of a ship, it is important that there is a well-formulated maintenance plan that includes inspection, testing and planned maintenance.