Maintaining the Ship

Having covered the essential tasks of maintaining the ship in a seaworthy and commercially sound condition, the ship managers have to have a department which can provide the organisation to ensure the ship carries out the tasks to which it has been committed by the commercial people who have arranged employment through the chartering brokers. The operations department will know from the technical departments that the ship is ready to carry out revenue-earning work and the commercial people will have explained what the commitment is.  It is then up to the operations staff to carry out all the many tasks needed to fulfil this commitment.  For example an essential job is to ensure that the ship is sent to the right place at the right time and then told where to go next.  Decisions have to be made as to how much bunker fuel will be the ideal quantity and where this should be taken on board.  Ensuring that the agents at all ports of call are advised and their responses acted upon. Crew changes have to be organised at the appropriate intervals and dry-docking is another major activity which has to be harmonised with commercial commitments. Whilst many specialist tasks can be passed to the appropriate departments, the operations staff have to co-ordinate it all. Many shipowners sub-contract all the management of their ships with the exception of the actual arranging of the ships’ commercial activities.  Thus the contact with brokers and the fixing of the charters, or in the case of liners the marketing and documentation, are under the owners’ total control. There has to be very close liaison between the commercial people and the operations department who have to ensure such things as having the right amounts of bunkers at suitable times and places.  Crew changes have to be organised at the appropriate intervals and careful planning can avoid expensive air travel for the old and new crew members.  Routine dry-docking is another major activity which has to be harmonised with commercial commitments.