A ship’s maintenance plan is a fundamental aspect of its day-to-day operations and it encompasses several elements. The process of maintenance planning in ships is to  done in order to

  1. Maintain the ship’s machinery at an optimal, environmentally sustainable and efficient level of functionality and safety to protect all members on board
  2. Address repairs and maintenance as quickly as possible to enhance operations, and 
  3. To Complete the  maintenance procedures with minimal spend  maximise profits.

The engine room onboard a ship is usually the location where engineers and the ship’s crew carry out these processes on a routine basis. In the past, with larger ship crews as a result of cheaper availability of manpower and a reduced dependence on technology, it was easier to have these maintenance procedures carried out in a simple and quick manner. However, there is a paradigm shift in how maintenance planning is carried out onboard ships in this day and age- with a welcomed reduction in the resources required and shortened timeline for this upkeep. 

Elements of Maintenance Planning onboard Ships 

Based on the timeline, maintenance planning could be subdivided into two: 

  • Planned Maintenance System/ Scheduled Maintenance System 

Regardless of whether the machinery requires upkeep, PMS dictates that maintenance and replacement must be performed as per a pre-planned schedule. According to the PMS, maintenance onboard the ships are planned in advance based on regular scheduled intervals based on the calendar (monthly, biannual or annual) or based on how many hours the equipment has been running. 

  • Corrective Maintenance/ Breakdown Maintenance

This is a form of reactionary maintenance wherein issues are addressed once they arise. This could be when a machine breaks down and is thereby also referred to as breakdown maintenance. While this is a more economical approach to maintenance, it may pose problems resulting in emergency situations which requires quick upkeep. 

The workflow when it comes to maintenance planning on a ship starts out with initially identifying the issue and establishing why it occurred. Post this, a process of troubleshooting and coming up with solutions to address the problem takes place. On evaluating the proposed solution, if considered appropriate, it is implemented and then its effectiveness is measured. 

According to the International Safety Management Code (ISM), all ships mandatorily need to have a planned maintenance system in place to meet safety requirements in order to protect all those on board and enhance their operations.