The requirements for ships’ electrical systems maintenance (for vessels of over 500 gt) can be found in the Technical Provisions of SOLAS Convention. For oil tankers and bulk carriers, the standards were adopted in 2010 to ensure the safety of ship construction and maintenance (International Maritime Organization 2014).
Ships should be designed, as well as constructed and maintained following the set requirements for structure, mechanics, and electrical systems adopted by the International Marine Society and corresponding national standards (ABS 2014).
Generally, all electrical systems, electrical appliances and equipment, electrical cables along with wires should be of design and construction which are adequate for those services that they are intended. They should be installed and protected so that any danger to people on board will get reduced to a minimum. In this context, due regard is to be paid to hot surfaces, moving parts, as well as other hazards (ABS 2014).
The general requirements for ship electrical systems are making electrical installations in the way that all electrical services will be assured without any recourse to some emergency source of electrical power; those electrical services that are essential for safety will get assured under the conditions of emergency; and safety for ship and personnel will get assured with regard to electrical hazards (ABS 2014).
Safety measures include earthing of exposed metal part of certain electrical machines as well as equipment, unless they meet certain criteria. All electrical apparatus must be constructed as well as installed so that they will not cause any injury when touched or handled normally. Emergency and main switchboards must be arranged in a way that enables easy access as it may be needed without any danger for the ship personnel. The switchboards should be guarded in a suitable manner, as specified by Administration. Next, exposed live parts that have voltages to earth exceeding the ones specified by the Administration should must not be installed on the front of such switchboards. If necessary, non-conducting mats or even gratings must be provided at the switchboard’s front and rear (ABS 2014).
Also, the hull return system of distribution must not be used for any purpose in a barges or tankers that carry liquid cargoes in bulk (those of flammable nature). When the hull return systems are used, the final sub-circuits should be two wire, etc (IMO 2014).
The main source of electrical power should be provided. It must consist of a generator which is driven by an internal combustion engine. This main source should supply the main electric lighting system. The emergency electric system should be arranged in the way that a fire or other casualties within spaces that contain the major source of electric power will not render the emergency lighting system inoperative (Tupper & Rawson 2001).
Emergency source (a self-contained one) of electrical power must be provided. The emergency generator may only be used for short time periods to supply the circuits that are non-emergency in exceptional cases. The emergency source should be capable, should have regard to starting currents and of simultaneous supplying of a list of specified services (e.g. means of illumination, spaces with propulsion machinery, etc) (Tupper & Rawson 2001) .
Drills and emergency trainings are to be carried out at least once per month. They should be completed in the way as if an actual emergency existed. During an abandon ship drill, every lifeboat must get launched with the operating crew aboard and manouevred in the water at least once in three months. Other than lifeboats, the rescue boats should be launched each month on water, with the crew, as well as manoeuvred in the water. Not later than within two weeks’ time when a new person or a crew member joins the ship, on board training with the use of lifesaving appliances (i.e. survival craft equipment) should be provided (EMSA 2012).
- American Bureau of Shipping 2014, ‘Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels (2014)’ Viewed 11 October 2014, http://ww2.eagle.org/en/rules-and-resources.html.
- EMSA 2012, ‘Ship safety standards.’ Viewed Viewed 11 October 2014, < http://www.emsa.europa.eu/implementation-tasks/ship-safety-standards/items/id/1424.html?cid=92 >.
- International Maritime Organization 2014, ‘International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea: SOLAS, 1974. Viewed 11 October 2014, < http://www.imo.org/About/Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-for-the-Safety-of-Life-at-Sea-(SOLAS),-1974.aspx>.
- International Maritime Organization 2014, ‘International regulations for different types of ships.’
Viewed 11 October 2014, < http://www.imo.org/
- Tupper, E. & Rawson, K. 2001, Basic ship theory. Oxford, Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.