What are the indications & subsequent actions in case of Steering Gear failure.

Indications of Steering Gear Failure:

  • A steering gear failure can occur at any time during auto or manual steering.
  • It is treated as emergency and immediate corrective measures implemented without any delay whatsoever.
  • Steering gear failure becomes apparent
    • If on Auto-Steering The Off course alarm rings.
    • If on Manual The ship begins to drift and no amount of wheel can check the drift. It would be noticed that the Rudder Indicator is not Moving.

Action in case of Steering Gear Failure:

  • If on Auto-Steering, the first action is to change over to Hand steering.
  • The 1st suspect is ‘Telemotor failure’.
  • Switch over to other Telemotor ‘System’ (Marked as System 1 / 2).
  • It that still does not solve the problem, the next suspect is the Steering Motor.
  • Change from Steering Motor 1 to Steering Motor 2.
  • It that still does not solve the problem, next suspect is failure of both telemotor system.
  • Turn the mode selection switch to NFU (non-follow up steering)
  • Even if this does not work, it means that all means from steering from the bridge have failed and the last resort of Emergency steering from the Steering gear compartment has to be resorted to.
  • After each corrective step, the rudder would have to be tried out. Before doing it, pay heed to traffic around to avoid any Closed Quarter’ situation.
  • If in restricted waters with traffic around, if steering is not restored immediately,
    • Reduce to Minimum Steerage way.
    • Inform ships around through safety message and burn NUC lights or hoist NUC shapes.
    • Inform Master and the Engine Room.
  • Such efficiency can only be achieved by planned and frequent training by simulating steering gear failures.
  • Details of drills and their periodicity is strictly laid down in ships training manual.
  • Company Superintendents and Surveyors are very particular that these drills are carried out regularly and recorded correctly as per the ISM procedures.


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