The chief engineer(C/E) of the ship is the chief of the technical department of the ship. It is his duty to assure that the engine room(E/R) machinery works normally for the smooth voyage. According SOLAS convention, it is the duty of the chief engineer to take responsibility for the safety of maritime professionals working in the engine room. The duties of the chief engineer are clearly given in the STCW 95 section A- III /2.
Duties of the chief engineer in both general & emergency conditions on the ship are:
1. Chief engineer should assure that all the ship‘s machinery & equipment are working normally in order to support safe navigation of the ship.
2. He should perform his duties, while following the rules & regulations laid down by the flag state administration, IMO, & port state authorities.
3. Frequent survey of equipment dealing with ship & personal safety should be carried out by him at regular intervals of time
4. All items used for the pollution prevention must be frequently checked & tried out for proper operating condition.
5. Chief engineer must lay down a set of standing orders for each crew member under his command
6. The standing orders should be given in line with the routine maintenance schedule as laid down by the Planned Maintenance System(PMS), which is suggested by the manufacturers.
7. He should see that details of every operation & activity should be correctly maintained in log & record books, which state the compliance of the system.
8. Life saving & fire preventing equipment should be inspected on regular basis for their operating condition.
9. To minimize sources of fire, chief engineer should assure that proper operation & maintenance of fuel & lubricating oil(L.O)& purifying equipment is done to minimize leakages. In case there are leakages, they should be modified at the earliest.
10. He should also make sure that the amount of waste oil collected should be as less as possible. The collected oil should be burnt in the incinerator or given to shore reception facilities.
11. Chief engineer should assure that the maintenance of incinerator is done as per the rules & regulations laid down by the management.
12. It is imperative of him to check that the oil is pumped out of the ship only through oily water separator(OWS).
13. To make sure the maintenance are performed properly, essential machinery spare should be made available in the ships store by filing a proper requisition at the earliest.
14. It is the duty of the chief engineer to persuade his crew to develop a safety first attitude in his work.
15. Chief engineer also make sure that his crew attends & performs all shipboard emergency drills & safety meetings.
16. Each & every crew member should know how to face every kind of situation on ship. The chief engineer should provide suggestion to his crew during the drills so that they know how to get out of an emergency situation safely in the minimum time possible.
17. While handling an emergency situation, the Chief Engineer should follow the company guidelines & procedures for dealing with emergencies.
18. At the time of an emergency, response time plays a major role. Therefore, the chief engineer should be able to guide his crew in minimum time to attend & rectify the task.
19. Chief engineer should have the knowledge of appliances such as fixed fire fighting installation, operation of quick closing valve etc. in order to deal with extreme emergency situations.
20. He should also have the knowledge of ship board emergency equipment response machinery panel, along with other important emergency machinery
21. In an emergency situation, the chief engineer(C/E) must maintain proper communication with the master concerning the situation of the emergency, as the ship‘s master is in touch with the local authorities & the shipping office.
22. He should co-operate with the master so that both deck & engine departments works towards bringing the emergency situation under the control in the quickest possible time
23. Last but not the least, the chief engineer must maintain a proper conduct with his crew members & address their queries & requirements at the best of his capabilities.