Germanischer Lloyd has developed a guide outlining major methods and procedures involved in ship lay-ups. The guide gives technical assistance to shipowners focusing on the maintenance of class, ship's safety as well as the maintenance of operability. Deactivating vessels in an effort to save costs requires planning and investment in the process. It is imperative that ships are laid up technically correctly to reactivate the ship successfully when the economic conditions are more favourable.
Shutting down a ship is a complex technical process. Additional to the technical challenges, the coordination with local and national authorities is important in the lay-up process. Lay-up conditions are determined by any local authority which has permitted vessels to be anchored off its coast.
A hot lay-up is used to deactivate a vessel for a limited number of weeks. Reactivating a ship from a hot lay-up can be comparatively quick. The hot lay-up is achieved by having a small crew onboard the vessel in order to maintain full-time fire, leakage, moorings and security watch of the vessel with the minimum of machinery running. This ensures that the machinery, electrical and electronic systems are kept within tolerable temperature and humidity conditions by a crew that is familiar with the vessel.
In addition, onboard inspections can be easily achieved as access is good, lighting is operational and it is relatively easy to find a berth for short term lay-up. There are scenarios for hot lay-up, where vessels are out of service for up to six months with reduced crewing levels but adhere to flag and class rules in order to be ready for quick reactivation.