Cruise Ship Or Cursed Ship – Shipboard Maintenance

Goodway’s Just Venting is a platform for information and education. In that spirit, we would like to welcome new readers with maritime ties – those responsible for maintaining cruise ships and other vessels. In this post, we’ll discuss how to prevent a cruise ship from becoming a cursed ship with a simple ship board maintenance plan. Without further adieu, Vince DaSilva, our newest blog team member, shares his unique view based on long and storied experience.

Having sailed the world more than a few times during my 30-plus year career with the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines as well as having served as Chief Engineer, I’ve observed plenty of cruise ships coming and going. The first thing that always crossed my mind was the imaginary experience of being the Chief Engineer on board one of those floating cities and hearing, “Chief Engineer, you’re wanted on the bright” over the public address system.

(Below is a video of a cursed cruise ship being towed into port. )

When out to sea, all ships run day and night without pause. On a cruise ship concerned with maintaining customer satisfaction in a highly competitive industry, marine engineers must handle everything from power inspections and repairs to hotel-type maintenance issues such as plumbing or upkeep of shipboard recreational facilities.

When you are hundreds of miles out at sea, failure to perform proper maintenance can lead to catastrophic disasters. Engine failure, fires, air conditioning and refrigeration (AC&R) disruption or failure, as well as on-board illnesses associated with airborne distribution are just some of the hazards a cruise ship might face. It is the cost of downtime that makes maintenance so critical but let’s not forget the comfort of guests and potential health-related issues related to shipboard HVAC systems. My advice is this: begin at-sea inspections of maintenance items in order to line up the resources necessary to make repairs upon arrival. This strategy can have a significant impact on the number of days a unit is out of service.

Cruise liners are essentially self-contained communities battling a constant onslaught of salt and sea, including salty air. AC&R system maintenance should be performed on a regularly scheduled basis both to avoid the corrosion that can shorten equipment’s useful lifespan and to maintain its efficiency. Examples of other important areas on a cruise ship for preventive maintenance include:

  • Ventilation equipment used to discharge engine fumes as well as indoor pollution.
  • Kitchen ventilation filters, to prevent contamination.

According to the Handbook of Environmental Degradation of Materials by Myers Kutz (available through many bookstores), corrosion repairs costs average $200,000 per ship and cruise downtime costs per ship are $1 million — more than 5 times any other shipping segment. Since corrosion affects everything from deck furniture to boilers, one can only imagine how the AC&R systems are being impacted. That’s why I recommend that inspections be conducted frequently.

Goodway is an excellent source for quality maintenance equipment. Their robust product line encompasses a wide range of chiller tube cleaners, boiler tube cleaners and hose/pipe cleaners, descaler systems, test instruments, air duct cleaners, industrial vacuums, commercial pressure washers, drain cleaners and other maintenance related equipment that I believe every ship’s maintenance shop should have.

Vince DaSilva
Goodway Blogging Team

One comment


  • These guys make my job look easy! I like boats and all, but I sure am glad I’m a land lover.

    June 17, 2011

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