What are Steering Gear requirements as per SOLAS?

Written by Amit Sharma

All ships are to be provided with main and auxiliary steering gear, independent from each other.

Main steering gear requirements as per SOLAS :

  1. Rudder stock shall be of adequate strength and capable of steering the ship at maximum ahead speed.
  2. Capable of putting rudder over from 35° on one side to 35° another side at its deepest draft and maximum ahead service speed and 35° on either side to 30° on another side in 28 seconds.
  3. Operated by power and designed so as not to incur damage at maximum astern speed.

Auxiliary steering gear requirement as per SOLAS:

  1. Capable of putting the rudder 15° on one side to 15° on the other side in 60 seconds, when vessel at the deepest draft and running ahead at ½ maximum ahead service speed or 7 knots whichever is greater.
  2. Adequate strength and capable of steering at a navigable speed.
  3. Steering gear control from Navigation Bridge and locally.
  4. Auxiliary steering gear controls from locally and if power operated also operable from Navigation Bridge.
  5.  Steering capability to be regained in not more than 45 seconds after the loss of one power system.
Tests and drills of steering gear as per SOLAS
  • The test is within 12 hours of departure.
  • Emergency steering drills once every 3 months

As per SOLAS, Regulation 29

  1. In every tanker, the chemical tanker, or gas carrier of 10,000 gross tonnages And upwards and in every other ship of 70,000 gross tonnages and upwards, The main steering gear shall comprise two or more identical power units Complying with the provisions.
  2. Every tanker, chemical tanker, or gas carrier of 10,000 gross tonnage and up words shall, subject to para. 17, comply with the following,
    • The main steering gear shall be so arranged that in the event of loss of steering capability due to a single failure in any part of one Of the power actuating systems of the main steering gear, Excluding the tiller, quadrant, or components serving the same purpose, or seizure of the rudder actuators, steering capability Shall be regained in not more than 45 seconds  after the loss of one Power actuating system;

The main steering gear shall comprise either:

  • Two independent and separate power actuating systems, each capable of meeting the requirements, or
  • At least two identical power actuating systems which, acting Simultaneously in normal operation, shall be capable of meeting The requirements, Where necessary to comply With this requirement, interconnection of hydraulic power Actuating systems shall be provided.
  • Loss of hydraulic fluid from One system shall be capable of being detected and the defective System automatically isolated so that the other actuating system Or systems shall remain partially operational, Steering gears other than of the hydraulic type shall achieve Equivalent standards.
Points to pounder for tankers :

For tankers, chemical tankers or gas carriers of 10,000 gross tonnages And upward, but of less than 100,000 tonnes deadweight, solutions other Than those set out in paragraph 16, which need not apply the single failure Criterion to the rudder actuator or actuators, may be permitted provided that An equivalent safety standard is achieved and that:

About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.


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