IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING THE HYDRAULIC IN CIRCULATION :
Ship was a handymax bulk carrier built in 1996. It was mid January, and the ship proceeded to seven islands for loading grain. The atmospheric temperature was nearly -35°C.
A day prior arrival port, a meeting was convened by the Master, to brief the safety procedures to be followed in the port stay and also the cold weather precautions. During the discussion it was pointed out that the hydraulic system for the individual crane motors had to be kept on atleast 4 hrs prior berthing, so that oil can be warm and the system can function satisfactorily. The pilotage was expected to be for nearly 3to 4 hrs, hence it was decided that as soon as the pilot boards the vessel, the system will be put ‘ON’ by Chief Officer.Chief officer gave instructions to Bosun to start the motors as required on pilot boarding the vesses. He did not check up whether he had done it correctly.
On arrival berth, it was found that No. 4 crane was not working and they had to move the jibs of 4 and 5 hatches out, such that the shore chute can reach the holds to load the grain.In that cold climate, the inspection was carried out, and it was found that the slewing motor of crane 4 had got damaged due to starvation of oil. Hence the shore help was utilised and the jibs were moved out. All the other three cranes functioned properly. The other three cranes, were operated by Bosun, who had earlier handled the cranes. This fourth one was operated by a new AB who had no previous experience in operating the cranes. In the meeting which was convened subsequently, it came to limelight that the Bosun had forgotten to put on the motor switch soon after the pilot boarding.
It was pointed out that the Bosun who handled the three cranes, had allowed few minutes of circulation of oil after starting the motor, and then he tried to slew, the slew motors were making noise due to viscous drag, but could manage. But the fourth one,(the AB had not understood the procedure or he was not aware of what is to be done), as soon as the motor power was ‘ON’, the AB started operating the levers. Since the oil was cold, the slewing motor did not receive the oil and hence got damaged. The company air lifted to slewing motors, which was fitted subsequently. The temperature of the oil was also very less. This is purely an incidence of laziness of Chief Officer and non follow up with Bosun regarding the work.