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Earth Faults

If an earth fault occurs on the insulated pole of an EARTHED DISTRIBUTION

SYSTEM it !ould "e e#ui$alent to a short circuit fault across the load $ia the
ships hull%
The resultin& lar&e earth fault current !ould i''ediatel( "lo! the fuse in the
line conductor% The faulted electrical e#uip'ent !ould "e i''ediatel( isolated
fro' the suppl( and so rendered SA)E* "ut the loss of e#uip'ent could create a
ha+ardous situation* especiall( if the e#uip'ent !as classed ESSENTIA,* e%&%
loss of steerin& &ear% The lar&e fault current could also cause arcin& da'a&e at
the fault location%
An earth fault A occurrin& on one line of an INSU,ATED DISTRIBUTOIN
SYSTEM !ill not cause an( protecti$e &ear to operate and the s(ste' !ould
continue to function nor'all(% This is the i'portant - e#uip'ent still operates%
The sin&le earth fault does not pro$ide a co'plete circuit so no earth fault current
!ill e.ist%
If an earth fault B de$eloped on another line* the t!o earth faults to&ether !ould
"e e#ui$alent to a short/circuit fault 0$ia the ships hull1 and the resultin& lar&e
current !ould operate protection de$ices and cause disconnection of perhaps
essential ser$ices creatin& a ris2 to the safet( of the ship%
An insulated distri"ution s(ste' re#uires T3O earth faults on T3O different
lines to cause an earth fault current%
An earthed distri"ution s(ste' re#uires onl( ONE earth fault on the ,INE
conductor to create an earth fault current%
An insulated s(ste' is* therefore* 'ore effecti$e than an earthed s(ste' in
'aintainin& continuit( of suppl( to e#uip'ent% Hence its adoption for 'ost
'arine electrical s(ste's%
Note4 Dou"le/pole s!itches !ith fuses in "oth lines are necessar( in an insulated
sin&le/phase circuit%
Hi&h $olta&e s(ste's 05%5 26 and a"o$e1 on "oard ship are nor'all( earthed%
Such s(ste's are nor'all( earthed $ia resistor connectin& the &enerator neutrals
to earth as sho!n "elo!%
The oh'ic $alue of each earthin& resistor is usuall( chosen so as to li'it the
'a.i'u' earth fault current to not 'ore than the &enerator full load current%
Such a Neutral Earthin& Resistor 0NER1 is often asse'"led !ith 'etallic plates in
air "ut li#uid 0"rine1 resistors ha$e also "een used% The use of such an earthed
s(ste' 'eans that a sin&le earth fault !ill cause that circuit to "e disconnected
"( its protection de$ice%
7ertain essential loads 0e%&% steerin& &ear1 can "e supplied $ia a transfor'er !ith
its secondar( unearthed to 'aintain securit( of suppl( in the e$ent of a sin&le/
earth fault% Re&ulations insist that tan2ers ha$e onl( insulated distri"ution
s(ste's% This is intended to reduce dan&er fro' earth fault currents circulatin& in
the hull in ha+ardous +ones !hich 'a( cause an e.plosion of the fla''a"le
An e.ception allo!ed "( re&ulatin& "odies occurs !here a tan2er has a 5%5 26
earthed s(ste'% Such a s(ste' is per'itted pro$idin& that the earthed s(ste'
does not e.tend for!ard of the en&ine roo' "ul2head and into the ha+ardous
+one area% Electrical supplied for!ard of the en&ine roo' "ul2head are usuall( 5/
phase 8896 insulated and o"tained fro' a 5/phse 5%5 26:8896 transfor'er%