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Steering Gears

Q) State some built in measures by which steering gear mechanism can be kept operational in the event of breakage of rudder actuator, pipe failures, motor burn out etc.

Ans:- Measures against steering gear failure: Some general requirements for steering gears, based on the various regulations and SOLAS 1974, are given below:

  1. Ships must have a main and an auxiliary steering gear, arranged so that the failure of one does not render the other inoperative. An auxiliary steering gear need not be fitted, however, when the main steering gear has two or more identical power units and is arranged such that after a single failure in its piping system or one of its power units, steering capability can be maintained. To meet this latter alternative the steering gear has to comply with the operating conditions of paragraph 2 — in the case of passenger ships while any one of the power units is out of operation. In the case of large tankers, chemical tankers and gas carriers the provision of two or more identical power units for the main steering gear is mandatory.
  2. The main steering gear must be able to steer the ship at maximum ahead service speed and be capable at this speed, and at the ship’s deepest service draught, of putting the rudder from 35 deg on one side to 30 deg on the other side in not more than 28 secs. (The apparent anomaly in the degree of movement is to allow for difficulty in judging when the final position is reached due to feedback from the hunting gear which shortens the variable delivery pump stroke.) Where the rudder stock, excluding ice strengthening allowance, is required to be 120 mm diameter at the tiller, the steering gear has to be power operated.
  3. The auxiliary steering gear must be capable of being brought speedily into operation and be able to put the rudder over from 15deg on one side to 15deg on the other side in not more than 60 sees with the ship at its deepest service draught and running ahead at the greater of one half of the maximum service speed or 7 knots. Where the rudder stock (excluding ice strengthening allowance) is over 230 mm diameter at the tiller, then the gear has to be power operated.
  4. It must be possible to bring into operation main and auxiliary steering gear power units from the navigating bridge. A power failure to any one of the steering gear power units or to its control system must result in an audible and visual alarm on the navigating bridge and the power units must be arranged to restart automatically when power is restored.
  5. Steering gear control must be provided both on the bridge and in the steering gear room for the main steering gear and, where the main steering gear comprises two or more identical power units there must be two independent control systems both operable from the bridge (this does not mean that two steering-wheels are required). When a hydraulic tele-motor is used for the control system, a second independent system need not be fitted except in the case of a tanker, chemical carrier or gas carrier of 10000 gt and over. Auxiliary steering gear control must be arranged in the steering gear room and where the auxiliary gear is power operated, control must also be arranged from the bridge and be independent of the main steering gear control system. It must be possible, from within the steering gear room, to disconnect any control system operable from the bridge from the steering gear it serves. It must be possible to bring the system into operation from the bridge.
  6. Hydraulic power systems must be provided with arrangements to maintain the cleanliness of the hydraulic fluid. A low level alarm must be fitted on each hydraulic fluid reservoir to give an early audible and visual indication on the bridge and in the engine room of any hydraulic fluid leakage. Power operated steering gears require a storage tank arranged so that the hydraulic systems can be readily re-charged from a position within the steering gear compartment. The tank must be of sufficient capacity to recharge at least one power actuating system.
  7. Where the rudder stock is required to be over 230 rnm diameter at the tiller (excluding ice strengthening) an alternative power supply capable of providing power to operate the rudder, as described in paragraph 3 above, is to be provided automatically within 45 seconds. This must supply the power unit, its control system and the rudder angle indicator and can be provided from the ships emergency power supply or from an independent source of power located within the steering compartment and dedicated for this purpose. Its capacity shall be at least 30 minutes for ships of 1O,OOO gt and over and 10 minutes for other ships.