October 9, 2001
IACS warns on dangers of inadequate onboard manuals.
IACS Permanent Secretary Robin Bradley says:
The IACS Guide for the development of Shipboard Technical Manuals is available at www.iacs.org.uk), under 'Technical'.
A shipboard technical manual is any document that explains how to use, maintain and operate the ship and its equipment. The IACS guidance deals with its form, content, structure and presentation (including materials in electronic format). It provides a template for technical authors. The guidelines pay particular attention to "warnings and cautions" and procedures in the event of malfunctions and faults.
The dangers caused by inadequate shipboard technical manuals are illustrated by a recent accident involving a ferry that struck a quay, injuring a substantial number of passengers and crew.
The subsequent flag administration report stated that control of the port controllable pitch propeller had been lost as the vessel entered port.
The text of the maintenance and operations manual for the vessel's controllable pitch propellers was in a language that reflected the ship's original flag and none of the vessel's current team of engineers understood it. In addition, the manual did not contain a fault diagnosis and trouble-shooting section.
Bradley says: " We believe more should be done, by manufacturers of marine equipment and systems, to raise the standards of technical manuals and instructional material. Instructions on how to operate and maintain the equipment should be an integral part of the delivery."
"Owners should remember," he said, "that the ISM Code requires them to ensure that suitable maintenance and operating instructions are available on board their vessels, in a format readily understood by seafarers."
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