Monday, 25 July 2011




Steering Gear Room Equipment

   A licensed engineer must be in attendance in the steering room during pre-arrival/departure tests in order to assist the wheelhouse with alarm simulations, and for recording required data. All means of communication with the wheelhouse should be tested before any tests begin. In cold weather have the pumps running for a few hours before departure.

   Listen for unusual noise from motor bearings, pump couplings and pump oil sumps.

   Listen to the starter of the running steering pump motor for humming noise.

   Check and record the following in the Steering Gear Log:
·      The running motor amperes as the rudder moves.
·      The running motor idle current. (Approximately 100amps)
·      The pilot oil system pressure. Isolate gauge after reading.
·      The carrier bearing wear down in mm. (If gauge is fitted)
·    Oil level in hydraulic sump tank is normal.
·      Oil temperature of system.

   Test the Steering Gear Power Failure Alarm and the Control Power Failure Alarm by opening the isolating breakers at the main and emergency switchboards. Check that an audible and visual alarm is triggered in the Wheelhouse and the Engine Control Room (ECR).

   Test the Non-Follow-Up (NFU) steering gear modes on each system by setting select switch to LOCAL at the Rudder Control Unit (RCU). Push the NFU pushbutton for starboard rudder and check rudder moves to starboard. Push the NFU pushbutton for port rudder and check that rudder moves to port. Push the end of the starboard servo control solenoid to move the rudder to starboard, and the end of the port servo control solenoid to move the rudder to port. Switch RCU unit back to remote control after tests are completed.
Note: this manual operation bypasses the electrical limit switches.

   Test the SAFEMATIC automatic isolation system as follows. With steering motor #1 running, manually actuate the “Upper” oil tank level switch (SO) on the oil tank and ensure “Low Level” alarm sounds in the ECR and in the Wheelhouse. Manually activate the “Mid Level” oil tank level switch (S1) on the oil tank and ensure that the “auto isolation” valve is activated which isolates two rams, and that steering pumps change over. Check also that “Automatic Hydraulic Supervision” alarm is activated on the Bridge and in the ECR. Manually activate the “Low“ oil tank level switch (S3) and confirm that the wheelhouse and ECR “Low Low Level” alarms sound and that steering gear pumps change back over.

   Change over to #2 steering motor and complete the same tests as in items 6 and 7. Use level switches (S2) and (S4) with #2 steering motor, checking that the appropriate alarms sound in the ECR and on the Bridge. When finished ensure that both RCU units are set for remote control.

   Check that auto grease feeder to rudder bearings is operating and that grease supply unit is full.

TIME: _________________HRS. DATE: _________________

PORT OF DEPARTURE: _________________________________




Steering Gear Room Equipment

  Confirm communications with the Wheelhouse and ECR.

Check oil levels in hydraulic oil sump tank and reserve oil supply tank and top up if necessary. The level in both tanks should not be less than ¾ full.

Check oil temperature of the system both by thermometer on the system sump tank, and by feeling the discharge piping of the running pump. The temperature should not exceed 60ºC.

Check for signs of hydraulic oil leakage from the ram glands, steering pump seals and pilot oil piping. Check that all pressure gauge root valves are closed.

Change over to stand-by filter and check the servo system hydraulic filter.

Listen for any unusual noise coming from the main pumps, motors or starters while the rudder is being moved from the Wheelhouse. Check the oil cooler is clean and that there is no abnormal noise coming from the fan motor. Check the amperes on the motor starters and log them as required.

Visually inspect the locking devices and connecting pins of the control linkages for the Rudder Angle Transmitter and the Rudder Repeat back units for signs of looseness.

In conjunction with the Bridge Watch Officer test the SAFEMATIC system by the operation of the level switches on the system sump tank, and confirm all alarms and functions are operating as per system requirements.

Complete steering gear log and record in Engine Log that test has been completed.

TIME: _________________HRS.                                                DATE: _________________

PORT OF ARRIVAL: _________________________________



  1. How to manually activate the level switches ?

  2. Open the junction box for the switches and identify the sensors for low level and high level , yiou can then manually close each set with a jumper to simulate a position ( high or low ) , if you need to test the switches themselves , they will need to be withdrawn from the tank and the position set manually ( high or low as needed ) .AJM