What is Hot Work and its Significance Onboard ? |

What is Hot Work and its Significance Onboard ?

Hot work on board vessels is not recommended unless:

  • The ship is in a repair yard or in dry dock.
  • There are no other viable means for repair.

All hot work on board ships shall be carried out in compliance with the procedures outlined below.


Hot work is defined as any work capable of producing a source of ignition. This will include:

  • Welding, flame cutting, heating and burning
  • High powered electrical drilling and grinding operations
  • Use of non-intrinsically safe electrical equipment in hazardous locations
  • Any work that could generate an incendive spark or incendive temperatures.

Grit blasting, de-scaling on deck and in tanks and the use of pneumatic power tools generally present a lower risk, and hence is not within the definition of Hot Work. However when grit blasting in tanks, a hot work approval plan shall be submitted to the office for internal control.

The Master is responsible for:
  • Ensuring that a hot work plan is prepared and submitted to the office.
  • Ensuring that all necessary preparations have been made and precautions taken
  • Hot Work Permit properly issued in accordance with these procedures.

The Chief Engineer is responsible for:

  • Preparing a hot work plan along with the Chief Officer.
  • Preparation of the work site and the implementation of required safety precautions, required prior submitting the Hot Work Permit for approval by the Master.

The submission of hot work plans to the Office gives Shore Management the opportunity to veto the plan or impose (additional) conditions or requirements. Whilst approval by Shore Management constitutes permission in principle for the work to proceed, as agreed, the responsibility to plan the details and carry out the work safely and in compliance with these procedures remains with the Master, Chief Engineer and the ship’s staff involved.

Even after receiving the Office approval for the work plan, it remains the Master’s responsibility to decide whether Hot Work shall be permitted or not. He is fully empowered not to carry out the Hot Work, if he deems conditions prevalent at that time to be unsafe.

If at anytime it is considered unnecessary for the work to commence or to continue, then the Master shall stop the operation and withdraw the authorization, informing the Office of his actions.

If any person considers it unsafe for the work to commence or continue, he shall bring this to the attention of the officer responsible for safety. If the issue cannot be resolved it shall be referred to the Master who may suspend or stop the operation and amend or withdraw the authorization, informing the Office accordingly.


Hot work is strictly prohibited on board during:

  • Loading / Discharging.
  • Ballasting / De-ballasting clean or dirty ballast.
  • COW / Tank cleaning.
  • Inerting / purging or gas-freeing.
  • Bunkering / De-slopping operations.
  • Internal transfer of cargo, bunkers or slops.

No hot work may be carried out in any part of the ship whilst at a tanker terminal, without the express permission of the terminal manager or the loading master.

In most ports, local regulations prohibit or restrict Hot Work onboard vessels whilst the vessel is within port limits. Prior to undertaking any Hot Work within a port, the Master must confirm the local requirements, and obtain permission from the relevant Port Authorities.


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