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Marine Boilers: Types and Function Onboard a Ship




MarineVibe-Marine News, Seafarers Guide, Navigation, Engineering

Steam is required on a vessel for different purposes ranging from propulsion in steam turbine vessels to heating and operating whistle. Boilers are used to produce steam on a vessel.

What is a Marine Boiler?

A Boiler can be defined as a pressure vessel in which water or other liquid is heated to evaporate and generate steam, the generated steam is then super-heated to high pressure for use external to itself.

Types of Boilers used in ships?

In the marine industry, there are two common types of boilers in use namely: the water-tube boilers and the fire-tube boilers. The most commonly used of the two is the water-tube boilers in which water is passed through lines of tubes where it is heated by a burner or a furnace.

Uses/Application of a boiler on a ship

Depending on the type and size of a ship, boiler usage and application may differ. Ships that runs on steam turbine requires steam to operate. Boilers are used on a ship to generate steam. Apart from usage for propulsion (on steam turbine vessels), there are other applications of steam.

Other Uses of Steam on a ship

  1. Used in tankers ships to drive cargo pumps for oil transfer
  2. Used to drive Winch and windlass
  3. Used for warming-up the engine in cold areas prior to starting
  4. Used for blowing soot
  5. Used for making the accommodation warm during cold seasons
  6. Used to drive derrick on some ships
  7. Used for ships whistle operation on steam ships and others
  8. Used for heating heavy fuel oil and lubrication oil
  9. Used for cargo heating by driving stripper pumps

What is boiler mounting?

Boiler mountings are devices directly fitted to the boiler shell and it includes:

  • Steam stop valve
  • Safety valve
  • Salinity cock or test cock
  • Feed check valve
  • Air vent cock
  • Two gauge glass level indicators
  • Scum blow down valve
  • Man hole doors
  • Bottom blow down valve

Safety devices on a marine boiler

  • Water level indicators
  • Safety valve
  • Low / high water level alarm and shut down
  • Pressure gauge
  • Low fuel oil pressure alarm
  • Low / high fuel oil temperature alarm
  • Flame failure alarm
  • Low / high steam pressure alarm
  • Smoke density alarm
  • Force draught fan stop alarm


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