Dry docking with container vessel


Hello guys,

I am scheduled to go with my vsl to dry dock in next 3 months from now.
The vsl is container ship - with 6500 TEU capacity. 2 years old.
I could use few tips about dry dock for reminder.

  1. How to prepare dry dock job list - the jobs for crew and yard staff.
  2. Preparation before dry docking and entering the dock,
  3. Economical approach and handling of dry docking for shipmaster if any.
  4. Stability calculation for dry docking, and how to find the quantity of cargo allowed on vsl when entering dry dock
  5. Any other experience.

I now above is very wide subject, I need for refreshment and if you have any links to download from web, or anything from your experience would be much welcome.
I am not the engineer, and especially tips from engineering side would be much appreciated, but nautical points as well.
I have rookie superintendant in the office (zero experience), and freshly promoted chief engineer on board (getting lost) - Lucky me!



#1 Start with class requirements and jobs which can only be done out of the water. Probably the most important thing is to have the right parts on board and to be able to find them when needed. Second most important thing is well written spec for each job. Three months is not much lead time. When you research a spec be sure to document carefully, requisition/purchase numbers, spec number, drawing number etc, otherwise you will waste a lot of time

#2 eng dept needs to review requirements to smoothly shift to shore power

#4 Shipyard may supply max allowable drafts or max allowable trim. When weight was an issue the yard gave a max tons per meter. Generally my understanding was no cargo, minimum fuel, and minimum ballast. The only ballast is to meet trim requirements.


Make sure the stability condition you enter with is saved, with hard copy printed. Sound all spaces manually. (duplicate condition before re-float)

Besides power, if you are remaining aboard, see about getting aux water supply for hotel services-Heating/Air and MSD asap.

Enter with High suction if not exposed from light draft (don’t want to pick up crap off the bottom), have chief switch to Low suction once pumping begins. Try to maintain ME and Aux for as long as possible in case emergency arises.


If this is the first drydocking (and when you write that the ship is just two years old, I assume that it is), then there isn’t too much in the way of class requirements. It is most likely not associated with Special Survey, but an intermediate drydocking. What we would call a “shave and a haircut” unless there is some other underlying problem. With a rookie super and a new chief, well, those would be the two that would be of the greatest assistance in drawing up a work list. To be frank, when I sailed as an engineer, I don’t recall a master ever drawing one up, except to give me a wish list.

Now, this being a relatively minor drydocking is probably why they have a rookie superintendent. I am sure that he has someone else to answer to.

The shipyard should give you your draft requirements, and I am also pretty sure that your engineering department will have given the yard the docking plan.

The yard will most likely supply a docking master when you enter the drydock.

If you are coming from foreign, there may be need to properly dispose garbage, although I guess the lates Marpol Annex with deal with that.

Just remember that regardless of where you go, there will be a bunch of strangers and thieves onboard your vessel with access to just about anywhere. They will steal anything that isn’t locked up tight. We used to get back at the shipyards by stealing a bicycle or two on our last day. . . . .

All in all, given a choice between being at sea or in the shipyard, I would rather be getting the crap knocked out of me during a four day storm than spend two days in the yard.

But now that I am ashore, I don’t mind being in the shipyard so much. Do you want some tools I found?

  1. As part of your Safety Management System (SMS) or Company Procedure Manuals, there should be a coding system which helps you prepare the docking specifications. This helps reduce the amount of word processing significantly. If your company does not have one, use of standard international terms is essential. Depending on the time available and number of crew on board, decision can be made as to what crew can do and what has to be done by dock.

  2. Ensure daily meetings with dock managers, super and Class surveyor (when available) to keep a track of work progress and any potential delays, which translates into allocation of additional workforce if possible.

  3. Exchange info with dock and ascertain their requirements. They will normally specify max draught and trim. If trim is not specified, maintain a small stern trim. This aids alignment at the time of docking and is very essential. Note down your stability condition and sound all compartments before entering the dock. Re-sound all compartments when dock is pumped out and ship is on the blocks. This is the condition that needs to be replicated before departure. Re cargo to retain; for a routine dry dock - none. If it has to be kept due to circumstances beyond control, it will be dictated by maximum draught. Don’t forget to advise dock to arrange additional blocks and shores for the ship in the way of cargo compartment. Also have a look at an example of dry dock stability calculation, or condition, in your tram and stability booklet - this makes life easy.