duties of fourth engineer on board ship

Duties of Fourth Engineer On Board Ship Explained

A fourth engineer is a certified marine engineer solely responsible for Purifiers, Air Compressors, Bunkering operations, and other related jobs.

In this article, I will discuss the duties of fourth Engineer on board ship and how to take over the duties from the previous fourth Engineer.

Joining the ship from foreign ports is a very tiring task, with so many connecting flights, and waiting periods between the flights make the process more exhaustive.

Most of the time, we don’t get much time for taking over all the information from the previous 4th Engineer, In this situation, it becomes necessary for you to know what can you ask him/her in the minimum available time.

Taking over Guide for Fourth Engineers

Here are some of the points you need to remember while taking over the charge from the previous 4th Engineer.

  1. Learn the operating procedure for Purifiers and Air compressors,
  2. Ask for any major overhauls or any accident if happened in his tenure,
  3. Check the location for spares of Purifiers and Air compressors and also ask for previous inventory,
  4. Ask for the previous maintenance record,
  5. Ask for Bunker transfer procedures and related queries like the location of sample bottles, documentation, etc.
  6. Ask for the latest Lube Oil Inventory log,
  7. Ask for Engine room LSA-FFA maintenance schedule, and if any major work is due for that,
  8. Ask for sludge transfer procedure and the sludge log file filling procedure,
  9. Ask about the filling of Planned Maintenance System (PMS) and other daily, weekly, and monthly paperwork,
  10. If time permits, ask for the operating procedures of Generators, Boiler, and COPT (if joining on a tanker).
  11. Ask for any special trick or some kind of secrets to operate your machinery.
  12. Ask about the other crew members,
  13. Ask for any other ship specific duty you need to perform.

NOTE: You should write down some short notes in your pocket diary about the points discussed above. Because you are already tired and you might not be able to recall all the information after his sign-off.

Duties of Fourth Engineer On board Ship

Now let’s talk about the duties of 4th engineer onboard ship in detail.

1. Maintenance of Purifiers and Air Compressors

Being a fourth engineer, your priorities onboard ships are to overhaul Purifiers and Air Compressors; You should be confident enough in troubleshooting your machinery.

If you have any doubts about anything, you can always ask for help from your seniors.

Moreover, you can read the Mitsubishi Purifier Troubleshooting Guide by clicking here.

2. Maintenance of Sewage Treatment Plant

The fourth Engineer is also responsible for maintaining the sewage treatment plant on board ship, 

He also has to maintain a sewage log file which is an important document for the purpose of PORT STATE CONTROL Inspection.

3. Bunkering

The fourth Engineer under the supervision of Chief Engineer is the responsible person to take bunkers.

Bunkering operations are carried out only once every two months or depending upon the route and other factors.

So never take bunker operations for granted, whenever ship calls for bunkering, so keep yourself ready with all the required documents as per your company policy.

4. Lube Oil and Grease Inventory

Fourth Engineers are also responsible for taking and maintaining the inventory of all the Lube Oils and Greases on a monthly basis.

5. Spare Parts Management

Fourth Engineers should maintain a record of all the spare parts of their machinery and raise timely requisitions as per the maintenance schedule.

6. Sludge and Bilge Management

Fourth engineers should maintain the record of sludge production, sludge burning, transfer, evaporation, etc. and report to the chief Engineer on a daily basis.

7. Engine Room LSA/FFA

This job varies from company to company, like during my first and second contract as fourth Engineer, LSA FFA of the engine room was under the Third mate, but on my third ship, I was the one to take care of LSA FFA items.

8. Paper Work

Fourth Engineers also have some paperwork assigned, that has to be completed on a weekly and monthly basis, some of the paperwork include;

  • Updating Engine Room Log Abstracts
  • Updating the running hours of the machinery
  • Work done report
  • Weekly bunker report
  • Monthly Lube Oil Inventory
  • Updating PMS

And other works depending upon company to company.

NOTE: Duties of fourth Engineer on board ship, as mentioned, can vary from company to company.

In some of the Indian Companies like Shipping Corporation of India, Fourth Engineers are in-charge of Generators; In MSC, fourth engineers are in-charge of Boiler and pumps.

All of it depends upon company policies.

I hope you got a clear idea about the duties of fourth Engineer on board ship,

Do share this with your friends and let me know in the comment section below If I have missed out on something.


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