The dock tests about to commence refer to various practical tests for the different systems of the ship. Altogether about 200 dock tests will be made on the Megastar before the ship is delivered to the client.
“More than 100 people are involved with the various stages of equipment testing.
Some of these people are naturally from Tallink, but there are also people from the rating agency, the authorities, the shipyard’s design and production departments. Several representatives of different equipment suppliers are also included.”
“We aim to test the equipment in the order that corresponds to the commissioning schedule. In this case, the installations of the systems or the segments must be nearly complete. There are testing programmes for every system, which help to ensure that they are working properly. The client, i.e. Tallink, and the rating agency approve the testing programmes that the shipyard has carefully designed. The SRtP tests (Safe Return to Port) are also a part of the dock tests and sea tests, all in accordance with the current requirements; and the ship has to pass these tests before it can be delivered. Testing is used to ensure that the systems and the ship operations function according to the regulations,” Aaltonen shed light on the testing process.
As a passenger ship, the safety requirements for the Megastar are very high. All of the functions and safety systems must be in order when the ship is delivered, so that the ship can get the certificates required for its category and by the authorities.
Currently, hundreds of professionals are busy with the outfitting and interior works on the Megastar. Meanwhile, equipment and systems testing is also being carried out. As far as the testing of individual pieces of equipment is concerned, the constant hustle and bustle only creates small challenges.
“For example, when we’re testing the main engines, or the equipment in the engine rooms, the tests affect a much larger area. Big tests have to be scheduled so that there would be as little interruption as possible for other work done on the Megastar at the same time. A good example of this is electricity supply testing. Nothing will work if we turn the power off.“
“Good communication also plays an important role, so that everyone on the ship would know what is happening and when, and how it affects a particular area,” Matti said.
When most of the dock tests have been completed, the test at sea awaits. The sea tests are carried out during Week 50, in the Baltic Sea region between the beacon Suomen Leijona, and Gotland. The test voyage is estimated to last for five days. Matti Aaltonen told us more about the sea testing programme.
“At sea, the main emphasis of the tests lies in the main machines in the engine room, their auxiliary and power systems, and the propeller system.
On the test voyage, all of these will be adjusted to their optimal settings, as these adjustments cannot be done while the ship is docked. At sea, we will also be testing how the equipment cooperates, all the way to extreme situations. The tests aim to reach and test maximum values, which will probably hardly ever be needed in normal traffic.”
“There are also other large systems to be tested. The navigation equipment is just one example. This equipment will be tested and adjusted on the test voyage, so that the ship’s safe operation is ensured. Another example is measuring the noise and vibration levels. These measurements are used to prove that the ship meets the relevant requirements outlined in regulations and shipping specifications. Water and wastewater systems are also tested on the test voyage, and partially also the kitchen equipment.”
“The tests will also determine how well the ship can be steered. Speed, manoeuvrability, and other characteristics related to the handling of the ship will be checked. For example, it can mean stopping and turning when the ship is at full speed, or nearly at full speed. At its most extreme, the ship will be listed at more than 10 degrees, which feels really wild for anyone on board. The forces moving the ship are great, so any loose items are tied down before the tests.”
According to Aaltonen, many enthusiasts contact the shipyard regularly, asking to come along to the test voyage. In addition to the employees connected to the testing process, no other people are taken on board the Megastar’s test voyage. Aaltonen is not worried about the testing phase, because he trusts the professionalism of the Meyer employees and business partners. Although he does not worry, he never forgets the importance of this work.
“We do all testing very thoroughly, ensuring that the Megastar is safe. There are thousands of passengers on the ship during any trip, and we want to make sure that all of them have a safe journey.”