MALFUNCTIONING OF STEERING : RUDDER GETTING STUCK AT 35°


K Balakrishnan

A bulk carrier was routed to great lake ports via Panama canal.Before approaching Panama Canal, erratic operation of rudder was observed when port side steering gear was used. Steering gear was put under observation and for the next 4 days, no erratic operation was observed. Vessel approached Panama Canal and all the steering tests were carried out, found satisfactory.While transiting Panama Canal, at mid night.

Master informed that the rudder got stuck at 35° port. Both the steering motors were put off, and the rudder came to the midship. Then the starboard steering gear was used and the transit was normal.After 10 days, the steering got stuck at 35° port. On close examination it was found the control rod mechanism was defective. Same rectified, and the steering system commissioned.