Pilot on Board: What it Means
When cargo operations have been completed and port clearance has been given for leaving, a one-hour notice is given to the engine room and duty engineer. At the receipt of the one hour notice, the engine room is manned and an additional generator is started. Thereafter as per the checklist, the Main Engine plant is made ready by the duty engineers.
Once the main engine has been lubricated and turned by the turning gears and blown though with air, the engine control is given to the bridge and they are told to try out the engine.
Before the arrival of the pilot is expected, the control tests, the steering gear tests, communications tests, and the main engine is tried out in ahead and after directions on fuel.The same is written down in the engine movement records book and signed.
When the pilot arrives on board, the order of “Stand By” is given. This order literally means stand by as the engine control room and the main engine controls have to be attended by an engineer at all times during maneuvering. This is because engine movement can be expected at any moment. Even though the engine is on bridge control, for failsafe operations the engineer must be present. At any misfire or problem, the engineer will take control in the engine room and give the movement.
At the stand by time the following readings are recorded in the bell book to enable the Chief Engineer to calculate the ROB’s of fuel and lubes.
- Main engine revolution counter
- Flowmeters for Main Engine, Generators, and Boilers
- Flow meter for cylinder oil
In modern ships the HFO purifier is always running as all systems are on heavy oil; if not then the HFO and Diesel Oil purifier (on older ships) has to be started.
During maneuvering the movements are recorded by the data logger in the bridge and movements are only to be written in the engine bell book if main engine is in engine room control.
Maneuvering is a very critical operation, and strict control and team work is required by all crew to carry it out successfully. As engine room people are not aware of what is happening above the water level, good and sufficient communication by the bridge team is always appreciated.
After the ship is out of the port limits and safely in the open sea, the pilot departs. After “Pilot Away” has been informed the main engine rpm is increased to navigational full and RFA of full away is given on the engine telegraph. Full away indicates that no more engine movements are expected in normal circumstances and the main engine can be adjusted for optimal efficiency. The additional generator can be shut and normal work can be carried out.
Another set of counters and flow meters must be taken at this moment to enable the chief to do his calculations.
After starting the fresh water generator, the main engine can be adjusted to maximum revs. The exhaust boiler is then taken in service and the oil fired boiler put in auto stop.
If the auxiliary engines were being cooled by auxiliary sea water pumps, then they are changed over to main cooling sea water pumps.
All safeties tested, and Chief Engineer goes up to his office to do his paper work and reporting.
This post is part of the series: Marine Engineer Jobs in Engine Room
This series is the collection of jobs performed by the marine engineer on board the ship. These articles will give you the clear picture on duties of marine engineer, jobs to be carried out while sailing, and the responsibilities of each engineer in maintaining the engine room.