Marine Auxiliary Systems

Introduction to Marine Auxiliary Systems

We have been talking about various aspects of ships including main engines or the propulsion plant. In this section we will learn about marine auxiliary systems. As the name itself suggests, auxiliary systems are there to fulfill several other requirements on board marine vessels apart from propulsion, which is of course the main function.

Despite the importance of the main ship diesel engines, it does not require much intuition to realize that only providing motive power for the ship is not sufficient. The marine vessels have lots of other requirements which make them a complete self sustaining unit in the middle of the sea. Some of these requirements include electric power.

Power is required for lighting purposes in the accommodation and other areas, and also to operate the various machineries on deck and in the ship’s engine room.

The term “marine auxiliary systems” mainly refers to the auxiliary engines or generators which are relatively smaller 4-stroke engines that generate electrical energy for consumption on board. However the term is also used in the broader sense to denote other equally important machineries and equipment, without which the ship will not be in a position to operate normally. These could include some of the following

  • Motors & pumps
  • Boiler
  • Inert Gas plant
  • Deck cranes
  • Turbochargers
  • Mooring Winches and Windlass
  • Simple Centrifuges for Oil Purification

Of course this is just a very short list and there are several other components which could be listed. We will take up the study of each of these auxiliary equipments in detail in this section. You can click on the link to goto the specific page of each auxiliary system. The page would describe their working principle, operation, repair and maintenance tips in detail. Such details are very helpful for personnel working on board as they have to deal with such repairs on an almost regular basis.

Auxiliary engines or generators which are one of the most prominent components of the marine auxiliary systems list, are interesting piece of machinery having their own cooling system, fuel system, lubrication system and so forth. Since one or more generators keep running continuously except during black out or dry-dock, they often demand routine maintenance as well as emergency breakdown repairs. Decarbonization of auxiliary engines is one of the most details routine maintenance procedures which gives a chance to the marine engineers to properly clean these engines and make them carbon free as far as practically possible. We will also be learning about this procedure in detail as the site progresses.

Boilers are important since steam is required for several purposes on board ships. So are the Inert Gas generators which are used to maintain inert atmospheres in cargo tanks which carrying such a cargo. These all will be dealt in detail in this section.

Shown below is a cut section of a type of marine boiler. Don’t worry if you do not seem to understand its construction or working. This is just to arouse initial interest. We will learn about all types of marine boilers used on board ships and their construction and working.

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