The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) has begun a new initiative to identify recurring problems and shortcomings of certain equipment types in a bid to improve them. Engine Room Perspectives seeks to tap into the collective insight of the world's marine engineers as well as utilising the expertise within the Institute’s membership.
Modern ships depend on a plethora of machinery systems to traverse the oceans safely and efficiently. However these machinery systems don't operate and maintain themselves. It is down to the dedication of engineers, chiefs and superintendents who work around the clock to make sure that these systems function as they should, when they should, so that ships reach port, deliver and collect their cargos on time.
Inevitably, sometimes things do go wrong. But how do we know whether a particular malfunction is an unfortunate isolated incident or part of a wider trend that demands deeper investigation and a long-term solution? Gathering data to reach useful conclusions presents a formidable challenge.
Feedback from those working at the frontline of the industry will be collected on a strictly anonymous basis to ensure contributors can provide candid input about their experience without fear of recrimination. The quantitative and qualitative data gathered will then be analysed by subject-matter specialists within the IMarEST’s membership and Special Interest Groups. The Institute will collate the results of this analysis and expert opinion in a report, which will be shared with the industry at large.
This exercise will benefit various stakeholders including marine engineers and shipowners who’ve encountered similar issues on other vessels, industry regulators and equipment manufacturers. Shining a light on these issues will stimulate innovation and encourage long-term solutions. In this way, this new IMarEST initiative will contribute to an acceleration in product development cycles, resulting in hardware that performs more effectively and is safer and easier to install, use and maintain. Additionally, bringing these issues to the attention of industry regulators will inform discussions on possible amendments to relevant rules. This might entail altering baseline specifications, modifying performance standards, and/or fine-tuning reporting requirements so as not to overburden end-users.
Sharing the results with end-users, other marine engineers and vessel owners/operators will be more prepared on what to expect during installation, operation and maintenance. They will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to devise strategies to deal with common problems and minimise the chance of them occurring in the first place or, failing that, minimise the resultant disruption. The intention going forward is to target various equipment types being brought onboard that appear to offer new challenges to business as usual operations.
First investigation - Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems
The first of the Engine Room Perspectives investigations has been prepared by the Emissions from Shipping Special Interest Group. This survey considers potential concerns regarding installation and commissioning, day-to-day operation and shore side support, and, training with respect to Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems. Seafarers with experiences with these systems are invited to share them in this survey to contribute to an analysis and report to support user needs.