Duties and Responsibilities of a 4th Engineer

Fourth engineer is the officer in charge of engineering watch on board and maintains engine room watch independently. He shall be responsible for the safe and proper operation of machinery plants, and for the duties prescribed in STCW 2010 A-III/1.

Fourth engineer’s duties include but not limited to monitor the mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and control equipments; maintain the machinery space logs and evaluate the significance of the readings taken; and carry out engineering operations, watch keeping and engineering maintenance at operational level.

As an engineer he has some specific duties to the engine room at the same time has some general duties, social responsibilities as well.

Familiarization with the ship: It is the first duty after being on board to be familiar with the ship and its equipments. Especially with the Muster station, nearest fire extinguisher location and type, emergency escape route, EEBD, personal life jacket etc. With course of time he should familiarize with fixed and portable firefighting equipment and arrangement onboard the ship.

Maintain safe watch: He should maintain a single watch along with his assistant watch keeper both in UMS and manned engine room. He should comply with the handover-takeover checklist and requirement while exchanging duties.

Follow Standing order and night order: Fourth Engineer must abide by the standing orders of Chief Engineer. He should also comply with night orders given for the rest period of Chief engineer.

Follow PMS: He is responsible for some specific machines onboard. This may differ from company to company but generally includes: pumps, purifiers, compressors etc. He should follow the maintenance scheme as detailed in PMS. Any difficulties in maintenance must be notified to the first engineer. He must also record the maintenance as per company formation. 4th engineer should work side by side with other engineers; to promote his or her knowledge while on board.

Inventories and housekeeping: He should make the inventories of the machinery for which he is designated for. Housekeeping of the engine room is not a single handed job rather it is a continuous job and combination of team efforts. Fourth engineer should keep his eye open to keep the engine room arranged as per the guide lines of second engineer.

Sludge management and bunkering: Fourth engineer should actively take part in the bilge water and sludge management as instructed by the C/E or Second Engineer. Fuel oil tank soundings, IOPP tank soundings; LO tank soundings are under his job criteria.

Fourth engineer has special duties in relation to the bunkering operation. He should actively be involved in the bunkering plan, bunkering meeting and pre-bunker preparation activities. Before bunkering operations he should keep the SOPEP and other bunker related equipments: sampling container, sample flanges, sample bottles, seals etc. He should keep the bunker sample locker arranged and related documentation be updated.

Follow safe working practices: 4/E should always attend the toolbox meetings and risk assessment programs. It is his duty to follow the safety procedures discussed in the tool box meetings.

He should know the standard and safe procedures on special working conditions such as: hot work, enclose space entry, energy isolation, working aloft etc. and use of lock in tag out kits whenever applicable.

Reporting: He should clearly understand Near miss, unsafe act, unsafe condition and report accordingly whenever such situation arise and improve the safety culture of the ship.

Social responsibility: A part from technical duties fourth engineer holds some social responsibilities to keep the ship as fair a workplace for him as well as for the fellow ship mates. If he finds any deficiency which may not within the machinery space, he must inform the responsible person.

Environmental issues have to be dealt with utmost importance. Fourth engineer should know to operate the pollution prevention equipments. It is his social responsibility to prevent the sea from any kind of pollution either accidental or operational.  Any violation of MARPOL items must be reported to the superior with proper procedures.

Emergency preparedness: As the part of emergency preparedness 4/E has some specific duties to perform to handle any emergency situation. He must know his emergency duties as detailed in Muster list. His designated machinery should be regularly tested and also be ready at all times. They should be well maintained and their operation should be verified and recorded in safety record book.

And last but not the least any legal duties assigned by C/E or 2/E should be performed by 4/E.

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