According to policies of all shipping companies, seafarers joining any vessel have to be competent, qualified and experienced. Joining a ship as a fourth engineer is the first step towards a sailing career on ship. It is only after becoming a fourth engineer that a mariner experiences real responsibility on a ship.
Though a fourth engineer, before joining the ship has cleared the required exams and training courses, it is appreciated that the training part becomes an ongoing process and there is always a requirement for refresher courses and periodical safety training.
Duties of 4th Engineer by Default
On all types of ships, irrespective of the shipping company, a 4th engineer shall report to the 2nd Engineer, who shall assign the duties to him, both at sea and at port and whose orders he or she shall consider effective and binding as though emanating from the Chief Engineer. Moreover, the 4th engineer shall also assist the 2nd engineer when necessary in carrying out duties of the later.
Duties of 4th Engineer upon joining a Vessel
A 4th engineer, upon joining a vessel, should carry out the following duties.
- Upon joining a vessel, the relieving 4th engineer shall report his presence on board to the Chief Engineer or in his absence to the 2nd Engineer.
- The 4th engineer should take a thorough round of the engine department with the signing off engineer and do a proper taking over of the duties.
- He should check the inventory and location of all purifier and compressor spares.
- He should check Inventory and location of pumps spares and tools.
- He should check running hours and maintenance schedule of his designated machinery.
- He should check general condition of machinery and special procedure for operation.
- Condition and layout of bunkering system including valve operation, tanks and sounding pipe location should be checked.
- Condition and layout of sludge and bilge discharge system including valves and pump operation should also be checked.
- Thorough sounding of all fuel tanks, bilge and sludge tank should be taken.
- Daily consumption of lube oil, fuel oil, marine diesel or gas oil and cylinder oil for daily record keeping in sounding log is to be checked.
- Daily production of bilge and sludge on board for record keeping of waste water sounding log.
After completion of the engine room round together, the 4th engineer shall report the details to the 2nd engineer and notify discrepancies observed, if any.
The 4th Engineer as in charge of Purifier, Compressor, and machinery other than main engine, auxiliary engine and boiler, is responsible for:
- Record keeping of machinery running hours under his charge.
- For carrying out planned maintenance routine under the supervision of chief or second engineer.
- Taking daily tank sounding of fuel oil, diesel oil, lube and cylinder oil on board ship and record keeping of the same.
- Record keeping of sludge and bilge on board.
- Acting as assistant in charge to chief engineer for operation during bunker of fuel, diesel and lube oil.
- Completing the month end official papers for his designated machinery.
- Compliance of environment policy and MARPOL requirements under the guidance of Chief Engineer.
- Maintenance and up keeping of the engine room log book and all those files on board advised by the Chief Engineer.
The above mentioned duties are the basic requirements for any 4th engineer going on board. However, duties might be subtracted or added on the basis of the type of the ship and shipping company.