Employing a team of voyage painters can be a good solution, to get a vessel back on track with the corrosion maintenance.
Most often this is done by embarking semi-skilled labourers, working under the directions of the vessels management.
This can be a cheap way to get ahead compared to extended dry dockings.
Before buying plane tickets for the riding crew,
make sure that the next 5 steps have been considered.
1. Know the scope of the work
Not only the general area (COT, WBT, FOT, Deck, E/R etc), but also the estimated sqm and any obstacles.
Can the desired project be achieved with the available ressources?
Un-realistic objectives usually result in the crew delivering monkey-shine.
6 months later it will be someone elses problem.
2. Know how to achieve the desired quality
Do the crew and riding crew possess the skills and knowledge to achieve the required quality of work?
Unless the riding crew posses new knowledge, the work quality will be the same as before, just faster.
The main cause of corrosion is poor surface preparation, causing the previous work has failed after a short time.
3. Use proper tools onboard
Most serious ship owners already have good effective tools available onboard, e.g; HP blaster and sand blasters of various sizes.
The problem is that it’s not used onboard. Either because of breakdowns, lack of consumables (water/sand) or lack of skills to handle it.
The result is that the crew gravitates towards the chipping hammer and rotating wirebrush.
It is better to wait and save up the money, than sending the riding gang onboard with sub-standard tools.
4. Have the correct paint onboard.
Most often the onboard maintenance manual gives a good guide to what paint to use in specific areas.
This may be good for the daily maintenance, but it can often be beneficial to find a paint that has other improved qualities e.g.: humidity tolerances, surface tolerance, volume solids, better overcoating intervals.
This may increase the price per liter, but can lower the overall cost significantly.
5. Composition and size of the riding crew
This can be a tricky subject and needs careful consideration and agreements between the office and vessels management.
When it comes to corrosion maintenance riding crews can be divided in 3 groups
Teams of skilled contractors working independently onboard.
They will deliver good long-lasting results, but at a significant cost to the owner.
Low skilled dedicated painters
They can be of a different culture or nationality than the ordinary crew, and without basic seaman’s training. Working on the project without being absorbed into the crew.
The team may be able to focus on the project, but by working under the guidance of the vessels management they will deliver the same quality as the crew.
Make sure that they are enough people to work independently.
E.g.: sending only 2 x painters onboard for WBT repairs will be a problem, as they will rely on the crew for WBT entry (hatch man + 2 workers).
Additional deck crew
Employed from the usual crewing agency and with the same nationality as the crew.
They generally work well with the crew, but the risk is that the additional crewmembers is absorbed into the ordinary crew and start assisting in the daily operation of the vessel. Loosing focus on the project.
This is a good option if the cabin space or the work scope is small, or the cabin space do not allow more than 1-2 persons.
Enjoying beautiful ships
Taking these 5 steps into the planning of the riding crew, can help the vessel to succeed in the projects and hopefully keep the dry dock expenses to a minimum.
The solution is not necessarily more crew, but could be better training and preparation.
Knowing what to do, how to do it, and what success looks like is essential for a good result.