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  • Preventative maintenance

    Naval Service Vessels.

    64. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Defence if he will ensure that a preventative maintenance manual will be developed for each vessel in the Naval Service as recommended in the value for money review of Naval Service vessel maintenance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17787/09]

    103. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Defence if he will establish a dedicated maintenance management team for Naval Service vessel maintenance as recommended in the value for money review of Naval Service vessel maintenance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17786/09]

    Deputy Willie O’Dea: I propose to answer Questions Nos. 64 and 103 together.

    The the value for money review of Naval Service vessel maintenance was recently completed and was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas earlier this month. The review comprehensively examines all aspects of Naval Service vessel maintenance and was undertaken by a steering committee comprised of civilian personnel from the Departments of Defence and Finance and military personnel from the Defence Forces. The review discovered there was a low incidence of unscheduled maintenance resulting in lost patrol days and that the maintenance function was appropriately focused on supporting the operational targets of the Naval Service. This is underpinned by an ongoing programme of planned preventative maintenance.

    The recommendations to which the Deputy’s questions refer are but two of a range of such recommendations aimed at improving the maintenance function within the Naval Service. The recommended completion of a planned preventative maintenance manual for each vessel and the introduction of a dedicated maintenance management team will enhance the co-ordination of maintenance resources within the Naval Service.

    The planned preventative maintenance manuals will contain a detailed list of maintenance activities on a ship-by-ship basis outlining the number of personnel required to complete each task, the necessary parts and consumables, the frequency of task and an estimate of the duration of each task. This will inform maintenance planning and provide a basis for better monitoring of the efficiency of maintenance tasks undertaken. As noted in the review, the Naval Service has already commenced work on these manuals.

    The review recommended the establishment of a dedicated maintenance management team. This team will complement and draw from the existing management structures and will provide high-level and centralised co-ordination of maintenance execution. This will ensure that maintenance resources are optimally deployed in line with maintenance priorities. The Naval Service has established this team, the work of which is ongoing.

    I am pleased that many of the issues highlighted by the steering committee in the review were already being addressed by the Naval Service and that many of the recommendations identified during the course of the review were quickly acted upon, where possible. The defence organisation has a good track record of implementing the findings of value for money reviews and I am confident that the further recommendations outlined in this review will be acted upon in due course.


    Deputy Brian O’Shea: I was surprised to discover that there is not a preventative maintenance manual for each vessel. I would have thought that such manuals would be provided as a matter of course. Are makers’ maintenance manuals not provided with each vessel? Such manuals are provided with motor cars and surely they must also be provided with large vessels. It is also extraordinary that an overall management team is not in place. The Minister stated that these matters will be dealt with in due course. Is that good enough, particularly if that which we are discussing is important in the context of ensuring better efficiency and value for money and bringing about savings? Should the Minister not focus on these matters immediately and ensure that prompt action is taken in respect of them?


    Deputy Willie O’Dea: I agree with the Deputy. The management team has already been put in place and work on the preventative maintenance manuals has already commenced. The value for money review highlighted a number of issues, on many of which the Naval Service was already working. As already stated, the Department of Defence has a good record in implementing the findings of value for money reviews. In view of the fact that the management team has been established and that work on the preventative maintenance manuals has already begun, it is evident that the response has been prompt.


    Deputy Brian O’Shea: So the management team has been established.
    Deputy Willie O’Dea: Yes.


    Deputy Jimmy Deenihan: One of our naval vessels will soon be 30 years old and will by that stage have outlived its usefulness. It is possible that, due to cutbacks, this vessel may not be replaced in the immediate future. Will the Minister clarify whether it will be replaced? If the vessel is to be retained, then it is important that it be properly maintained. Maintenance is going to be extremely important not only in the context of the vessel in question but also with regard to the other two vessels that are due to reach the end of their operational lifespans in the next two to three years.


    Deputy Willie O’Dea: The value for money review discovered there was a low incidence of unscheduled maintenance resulting in lost patrol days. However, it also discovered that the situation could be improved in two ways. The first of these is by putting in place a dedicated maintenance management team in place, which has been done, and the second is by drawing up preventative maintenance manuals for each ship, work on which has already commenced.

    I agree that the economic situation may impact on the replacement of naval vessels. To date, however, I have not received instructions to the effect that I should not proceed in this regard. A system is in place to replace the vessels in question and I have not, as yet, been informed that I should discontinue the process of replacement.


    Deputy Brian O’Shea: I take the Minister’s point with regard to the fact that restrictions have not been placed on him in the context of proceeding to acquire the three new vessels that are needed. However, should a cost-benefit analysis not be carried out in respect of the older vessels, particularly in view of the fact that maintenance costs begin to increase and stack up as vessels get older and become decrepit? A balance must be struck between maintaining older vessels and purchasing new vessels which would require a much lower level of unscheduled maintenance. The purchase of such vessels would lead to savings being made.


    Deputy Willie O’Dea: I would appreciate all the assistance Deputy O’Shea can provide when I am discussing this matter with the Department of Finance. It is true that the older a vessel, the more difficult and expensive it is to maintain. The position will improve as a result of the implementation of the recommendations in the value for money review. We are all aware that approximately 30 years is the extent of the operational lifetime of any vessel. It is much better than vessels be replaced as the end of that 30-year period approaches. As already stated, I have put in place plans to replace the vessels that are nearing the end of their operational lifetimes. I have not, as yet, been instructed to discontinue the process in this regard.


    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Goldie fish View Post
    Naval Service Vessels.

    64. Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Defence if he will ensure that a preventative maintenance manual will be developed for each vessel in the Naval Service as recommended in the value for money review of Naval Service vessel maintenance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
    I can't believe that this does not exist for something of the technical complexity of
    a military vessel !!!

    The Air Corps has its scheduled PM inspections for EVERY aircraft it has - why should the NS
    be any different ???
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

    Comment


    • #3
      A Naval vessel isnt that complex really. Nowhere near as complex as an aircraft, thats for sure. It won't fall out of the water if the engine stops, and in any case you have a second one to keep you moving while you repair the other.

      The maintenance schedule is more routine maintenance than preventative. However the nature of the duties aboard ship mean that machinery failures are normally spotted before such failure takes place. Its just that the VFM thought it would be a better idea if PM was put as a paper procedure, rather than relying on the expertise and experience of the crews. Procedural PM also makes complete crew changes much easier.

      However up to now, scheduling maintenance was the Engineering officers job, and they had to juggle refits with operational commitments, and getting the maximum patrol days out of each vessel.


      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

      Comment


      • #4
        The 'Peacock' class came with their own PM manuals, thanks to the Brits, along with all the BS standards.

        Comment


        • #5
          Surely the individual units, such as engines and pumps, have their own manufacturer-supplied maintenance manuals and parts catalogues? Anything not actually built by the yard must have been supplied by third parties, who would provide manuals as a matter of course....I would have thought that the NS has it's own dedicated maintenance planning system, anyway.
          regards
          GttC

          Comment


          • #6
            Usetabanera

            To the best of my knowledge the NS Engineering branch, always did have a planned preventative maintenance program. When the peacocks arrived the RN system was adopted in part for the rest of the fleet. There were always job cards, running hours recorded, hours running clocks installed etc. I personally had to carry out a service on an air compressor while the ship was steaming in a force 8 gale. The oil for the compressor was stored in a drum on the after deck. I had some fun trying to get the contents into a gallon jug.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
              Surely the individual units, such as engines and pumps, have their own manufacturer-supplied maintenance manuals and parts catalogues? Anything not actually built by the yard must have been supplied by third parties, who would provide manuals as a matter of course....I would have thought that the NS has it's own dedicated maintenance planning system, anyway.
              regards
              GttC
              Yes there is. Having full knowledge on the SEMT Pielstick engines used by the Naval Sevice, there are stacks of manuals, PM requirements etc. Any mechanical system will have it.

              Suppose its more a combining of them all into one unit and doing th ework accordingly, although I would have thougth that would be the Engineers job.
              "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd say VFM, like ISO accreditation, likes to see everything in neat well marked documentation, with every action covered from a H&S perspective. Everyone knows what to do, but they like to see a "bible" of some sort to say why you know what to do. "because the procedure says that after 900 engine hours, the A/mech must put on flippers, a snorkel and goggles, and go for a swim in the bilge to find the MEOs mini maglite."


                Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rofl!!!
                  "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You know it happens...


                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just had a taught, the drydocking of every NS vessel is tender separately. Why not have 1 company get the contract for all vessels for a 2-5 year period? It should be cheaper!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Because you cannot guarantee drydock availability? It would be better of course for the NS to have its own dedicated drydock, operated by civilian contractors, as is the case elsewhere.


                        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Goldie fish View Post
                          Because you cannot guarantee drydock availability? It would be better of course for the NS to have its own dedicated drydock, operated by civilian contractors, as is the case elsewhere.
                          I was under the impression that a contractor did the work at Haulbowline (wrongly).

                          We are talking 2 weeks for each vessel every 30 months, surely if booked in it could be done (the planning is already done well in advance)?
                          Last edited by DeV; 9 March 2011, 19:52.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            2 weeks? You really believe that?


                            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thats what the VFM report says

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