Let’s talk about the importance of chief engineer duties and responsibilities.

Chief engineer is responsible for the engine room maintenance and running as well as the safety of the engine crew. Furthermore, the responsibility is extended to his records as well. It is not unusual to find incorrect or incomplete entries on an Oil Record Book. Usually, this is merely a misunderstanding on the part of the Chief Engineer as to how entries should be made rather than a deliberate attempt to deceive. In such cases, we relay to the Chief Engineer the IMO MEPC.1 Circ. 736/ Rev.2 which provides guidance on the matter as well as our related Technical Bulletins.

The Oily water separator is an item of critical equipment which requires periodically maintenance and checks in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Furthermore, clear procedures and instruction notices should be posted at the equipment. Associated with the oily water separator is the overboard discharge valve which is usually kept locked and sealed when not use.

The essential aim is for the chief engineer to have full control of the equipment so as to deny any unauthorized access. However, if keys to locking devices are left hanging in the control room, all preventive actions taken may go to waste. The keys should always be kept under the sole custody of the Chief Engineer.

Bunkering plans and checklists are important working documents designed to ensure bunkering procedures are followed correctly. It has been observed that checklists are being completed by the Chief Engineer after the completion of bunkering in his office, rather than at the time and place of the task. Pre-work planning meetings and tool box talks should also be carried out involving all persons involved in the operation. Bunker manifolds and valves should be clearly labelled and color coded to reduce the risk of an incorrect hose connection or valve operation which may result in tank overflow and bunker contamination. Oil spill containment measures will also be checked ensuring that scupper and sea valve plugs are properly fitted and in good condition.

It’s not uncommon to see engine crew checking the bunker flanges minutes’ prior the arrival of the bunker barge. Communication and organization is the key on all ship operation and engineers are no exemption to the rule. All related tasks will have the outmost result if properly, timely addressed and dealt with.