Which special precaution to be taken prior and during navigating in cold areas?

20 Apr '17, 13:01

April 20, 2017, 1:01 p.m.
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Navigating in rough environment demand extreme caution. Ships equipment are not always designed or capable to face the severe environment and leads to loss of power, damage to equipment and restricted use, resulting in costly downtime and possible detention by PSC.

Points to remember

Personal precaution:

  • Crew working in exposed areas must take all precautions against Frostbite, as per ships Captain Medical guide.

  • Wearing warm clothing and appropriate PPE is a must.

  • Work and rest hours planned in advance anticipating longer work hours required for deck operation.

  • Educate crew on precautions against Hypothermia.

Operational precaution:

  • Ensure accommodation temperatures are adequately controlled. Keep all doors closed to retain heat.

  • Engine room ventilators may in some cases be turned off but remain open to avoid freezing of sensitive equipment in the engine room. In Freezing conditions, ballast tanks must be slackened to about 95%.

  • FO Tank heating must be checked in advance. Sufficient bunkers are available without having to transfer in heavy Weather.

  • Drain all lines (Ballast, Fresh water, Fire, foam, air, steam, tracing, etc) on exposed deck should be drained out thoroughly and avoid water hammering. Remember to drain fire hoses and coupling where water may be trapped within. Consider recirculating in the system which are required for continuous use.

Deck Machinery

  • Check deck machinery, steering pumps, bow thruster, etc. especially effect on working oil Hydraulic oil) due to low temperatures, that must be switched on well in advance prior use. Heaters if provided must be switched on in advance.

  • Deck-mounted sensitive equipment should be covered to avoid from icing or freezing spray.

  • All movable deck equipment must be tried out for smooth operation and ensure that same is not frozen or sluggish.

  • Take precautions for preventing freezing damage to all Navigational equipment outside the accommodation spaces (Radar scanner, Gyro Repeaters, Magnetic compass, navigation lights, etc).

  • Plan you voyage taking into account any adverse weather conditions that5 may be possibly encountered.

  • Bear in mind the effect of ice accumulation on deck which may appreciably reduce the effective GM of the vessel. This is of particular importance when departing port with low GM. Vessel should consider increasing their GM. All efforts must be made to clear ice from deck to avoid damage to hull paint coating and brittle metal from cracking.

  • Safety equipment should be checked frequently, including safety hand lines, lifebuoys lines, Fresh water in Life boats.

  • On oil tankers PV breaker filled with glycol as per manufacturers instruction.

  • All water tight doors, hatches, air vents etc must be maintained in good water tight condition.


  • Weather data should be studied and appropriate routes selected. Any weather warnings/advise received from weather routine services.

  • Never hesitate to alter course/Speed as necessary, to reduce heavy rolling/pitching motion. Navigating officers must be aware of the phenomenon of synchronous rolling and pounding.

  • Vessel must be on hand steering and Engine room manned during heavy weather.

  • If weather conditions are deteriorating, vessels at anchor must heave up their anchor head into deep waters. Vessels at sea must seek shelter where practicable.

  • Proper records maintained, which includes entries in log book, pictures, etc. hourly Weather records maintained in log book.

Masters Action:

  • Masters must inform office and all concerned parties whenever encountering or expecting heavy weather.

  • After encountering heavy weather, inspection of vessel (including void spaces, tanks, stores, spares, etc) should be carried out, any abnormalities reported to Office.

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20 Apr '17, 13:23

April 20, 2017, 1:23 p.m.
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