Technical management is a series of related tasks necessary to keep a ship operational and to enforce compliance with laws in the regions where the ship may travel. A shipping company may handle its own technical management or contract the work out to another organization with experience in this area. Other components of managing the shipping business, like establishing charters and creating contracts for shipping loads, are the responsibility of other departments.
One aspect of technical management is keeping the ship's physical plant operational. This includes scheduling maintenance and service, supervising repairs, and replacing outdated or worn equipment. Personnel must regularly inspect the ship to confirm that maintenance is being performed on schedule and to test equipment to determine if it needs repair or replacement. This includes everything from evaluating the hull to checking the engine and navigation systems.
Another part of technical management is the conduction of ship inspections. Shipping lines inspect their own ships on a regular basis and also submit to regulatory inspections. In preparation for an inspection, the technical management team checks the ship to identify any problems that need to be addressed. A staff member accompanies the inspector to respond to questions and assist the inspector as necessary. In the event of any citations for violations, the company will need to address them and provide proof that it fixed the violations to receive regulatory approval to keep operating.
Staffing is also the purview of technical management. This includes hiring new staff members, firing sailors who are not doing their jobs properly, and promoting staff members who appear to be adding value to the shipping company and its services. Staffing needs also include establishing benefits, providing training, and evaluating staff members to make sure they have the right training and qualifications for their positions.
These tasks also involve making purchases related to keeping the ship operational and auditing the ship's finances to keep it within budget. Personnel can also engage in activities like checking the quality of goods purchased to confirm that orders are being properly filled by suppliers. Insurance claims related to ship loss and damages are also the responsibility of technical management staff, who must file claims with appropriate documentation, respond to requests for information from the insurance company, and collect the money once the insurance company pays out. The staff will utilize money from insurance payouts to repair or replace the ship, and typically research ahead of time so they are ready to act as soon as the insurance company provides payment.