Car Carrier

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Introduction: The vessel “PCC example” was inspected in — on the — of — 2022. The cargo operations were in progress. The vessel was found in overall good to very good condition. The safety procedures were  found generally correctly followed and implemented in the daily routine, with clear evidences of regular maintenance carried out and the Planned Maintenance System updated and with no major machinery overhauls overdue. The Port State Control inspection record was found good with 0 detention and 6 deficiencies in the 7 inspections over the past three years.

During the inspection 7 non-conformities and 22 observations were raised.

The Fire Safety was assessed overall at a good level with the annual service of the portable extinguishers carried out regularly onboard – last done on — Oct 2021. CO2 was last services by shore company Oct 2021. The emergency fire pump was tested and the pressure witnessed on the Bridge gauge. The Emergency generator was started successfully by the hydraulic spring, but there was oil coming out from the cap of the hydraulic tank, which need to be rectified. The fire suits were properly stored and ready for use. The pressure inside the SCBA bottles was sufficient, however two breathing apparatus were found with relatively quick pressure dropping, indicating an air leak. They should be repaired at first opportunity. One ER fire damper was found not fully closing and leaving a gap around 1 cm. It should be repaired either by overhauling the cylinder or by adding an extension to its rod. Three smoke detectors were randomly tested in the engine room. The fire alarm system was found operational during the cargo operations, however reported when heavy trucks are operated loops are disable by the timers for 4 hours. It is recommended the disabling to be done not more than 1 hour with prolongations, since four hours are considered too long equal to complete disabling. The staircase fire doors on deck 7 (assumed from the pictures) were found without self-closing mechanism. The fire plan was checked and seen that these are not a self-closing type fire doors. However, there is no obvious reason to be such and it is recommended to be double checked with the Classification Society. One emergency escape hatch from the Garage Deck was seen with reappeared corrosion after maintenance. These must be kept in very good condition and preventive maintenance carried out rather than remedy.

The Life Saving Equipment was found in overall good condition with the annual service of the lifeboats carried out Nov 2021. The Freefall lifeboat inventory was checked and found in order. The motor was successfully started. The Rescue Boat motor was tested. The Rescue Boat hook was seen with corrosion scale and rusty appearance. The bolts of the wire clip appeared corroded. It is recommended the hook to be overhauled/maintained. The liferafts next service is seen due Sep 2022. The limit switch for the lever of the liferaft launching crane was found with damaged and open cover. The operation of the switch is doubtful and it is recommended to be renewed.

The Pollution Preventing Equipment was found in good condition. The oily water separator was tested when circulating bilge to bilge. The alarm and the three-way valve were witnessed operational. The seals were in place and the overboard valve was locked.  The records in the oily record book were checked and found up-to-date. The Ballast Treatment plant was reported operational and there were no active alarms on the panel.

The Hull was seen in overall good condition with coating breakdown mostly on the vertical sides around the upper part of the anti-fouling. The fixed fenders on the starboard side was found damaged at a few places. No other significant indentations were seen on the visually accessible part of the hull. The Hull markings were well legible. There was no bio-fouling observed with the current draft.

The Forward and Aft Mooring Stations were graded overall in fair condition with spots of coating breakdown and corrosion scale mostly on the forward mooring machinery, including foundations, el motors between the cooling fins and machinery fittings’ edges. The windlasses gear protecting covers were seen heavily corroded and recommended for renewal if not completely then partly. The foundations of the mooring machinery and the electric motors should be treated with priority. The aft mooring station was found in better condition. Both stations the fairlead rollers were found able to be free rotated. The mooring ropes were in sound and safe condition. Evidences of good mooring practices were sighted.

The Weather Deck and fittings were assessed in overall good condition with only minor coating damages on the deck and relatively moderate level of coating breakdown and corrosion on the fittings, which is recommended to be treated on due time in order to prevent failures or premature steel repairs. Namely corrosion was seen: on the main fire line holding brackets; some light holders; edges, welding seams and a scupper pipe on the portside platform; on a portside aft bulkhead for the garage deck; around the fittings and foundation flanges of the cargo hold vent fans, including the fire damper levers, position indicating sensors and el motor connection boxes. One fire hydrant valve handle on the Bridge deck starboard was seen heavily corroded around the stem and one vent mushroom was  observed with wasted steel around the indication rod, which is required to be repaired. Amongst the fittings important to be maintained are a few weathertight doors observed with corrosion scale mostly on the lower part of the rubber retaining channels – three of the doors of the Engine room vent fan compartments, the chemical store weathertight door and one Escape door from the Garage Deck. The electric switch boxes of the ER vent fan el motors were found with peeled coating and unprotected against corrosion, it is recommended to be maintained and properly recoated. The deck inside of the ER vent fan rooms was seen with coating breakdown and salt. On older vessels this area is prematurely corroded and becomes a weak point. It is recommended to be planned for maintenance. As a general rule, proper coating maintenance has to be performed always (but especially spots) in order to ensure optimum period of corrosion protection, which is also a reduction of the work load to the crew. Proper maintenance includes washing of salt and dust with fresh water, chipping till metal bright, the surface to be rough in order the new paint to catch firmly (so wire brush is not recommended, which smoothens the surface), application of 4 coats of primer with a brush and one finish coat within two weeks period.

The Galley and Superstructure were found in overall very good condition with the public spaces clean and arranged. No premature wear was seen of the floor and wall covering of the interiors. The sanitary spaces were kept clean and appliances operational. The Galley was found hygienic and the messroom neatly arranged. The provision chamber temperatures were within the allowable ranges. The Hospital was in order, except its external door found not fully sealing and leaving a gap, which is required to be repaired either by adding additional rubber seal or adjusting the hinges. The laundry rooms were found sufficiently clean and with no safety hazards, except the messman’s drying room heater with missing warning not to cover and keep clear from clothes and one laundry room door without self-closing device. There were no leakages in the aircon room, the AHU box was in unimpaired structural condition and all protecting covers were installed on the machineries.

The Bridge and navigating equipment were evaluated in overall very good condition. All equipment was reported operational and checked where practical. The echosounder and the speed log data was sighted and found credible. The steering gear was tested with each pump and time was found as stated in the Wheelhouse poster 26 seconds. The gyro last overhaul was carried out September 2021. The radar magnetrons were recently replaced. The ECDIS charts were updated for the current week. The voyage plan and the manual position fixing intervals were checked, the latter whether performed on the vessel route for arrival. The record keeping in the Deck logbook, GMDSS book and compass error book was found up-to-date. The latest Deck checklists were presented and found completed and signed by the Master. The magnetic compass was checked and found without bubbles. The Bridge wing consoles were seen with corrosion on the foundation edges and it is recommended to be maintained properly.

The Cargo Equipment were assessed in overall good condition with the cargo decks well illuminated and clean. There was no damaged sealing rubber of the watertight and gastight doors. The liftable deck suspensions were randomly checked for cracks and found in order. The Bilge alarm on deck 1 forward was successfully tested. The Ballast tank remote gauges were reported not all operational and it is recommended to be repaired during next dry-docking. The clearance of some pins of the Stern ramp hinges appeared excessive. Record of the last inspection of the maker has to be checked. Maker service company is advisable to be contacted regarding this matter. Replacement of the pins can be arranged in port and dry-docking is not always required. Wire replacement date of the stern and side ramps is recommended to be stencilled around the equipment.

The Machinery Spaces  were assessed in overall good condition with the housekeeping and general cleanliness in the ER at a satisfactory level. There were no significant leakages observed in the engine room. There were no temporary repaired pipes sighted in the engine room, except the cemented FWG outlet pipe, for which a condition of Class was raised and the pipes’ insulation was generally not deteriorated. However, the forward part of the ER tank top was seen rusty and with pealed coating. The standard for the ER tank top is to be clean, dry, oil free and painted light grey colour in order to spot any leakages at early stage. This is recommended to be inserted in the maintenance plan of the engine department. Additionally the boiler cascade tank top was found corroded and with deformed insulation. It is recommended, the cascade tank top to be descaled and recoated. The hatch cover dogs to be ensured properly closing. Insulation of the cascade tank to be in good condition. The Planned Maintenance system was checked against randomly chosen alarm tests and found regularly performed Boiler water low level alarm and ME oil mist detector tests. No overdue maintenance jobs were present for the current day. There were no unreasonable off-scanned alarms. ME pictures from the last under-piston inspection were discussed. All ME units have remaining around 800 running hours till planned overhaul and there was a degree of carbon deposit accumulated between the first and the second piston rings, which is an evidence of deteriorated sealing of the first piston ring. It is recommended at least one piston overhaul to be carried out, as it is recommended also by the maker at around 16 000 running hours and as per good assessment of its condition a decision to be made whether the rest of the units can be extended, however my personal opinion is that due to the busy schedule of the car carriers such extension is generally not advisable. The condition of the cylinder liners was assessed as good to very good and the honing marks were still visible. The ME performance was found satisfactory. The auxiliary engines performances were also without remarks, except AE2 unit 7 seen with late ignition point, requiring remedy. The auxiliary engines turbocharger hot surfaces need to be additionally inspected by the crew using a remote thermometer (due to unreliable data from the thermal camera used) and if places with temperature above 200 deg are found the insulation is recommended to be improved. All provided LO analyses were with normal status. All air compressors were tested. The Control air compressor was observed blowing excessive air from the air breather when working. Its foundation dampers were visually significantly more vibrating than the main Compressors. The condition of the service compressor has to be confirmed as per its working hours. The Service Air Compressor was found too oily inside the cabinet and leakages have to be remedied as much as possible.