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REDUCING THE RISK

OF PROPULSION LOSS
Operational guidance for preventing
blackouts and main engine failures
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS
TABLE OF CONTENTS

3 INTRODUCTION

4 GLOSSARY

5 POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF PROPULSION LOSS

6 POSSIBLE CAUSES OF PROPULSION LOSS


7 POSSIBLE CAUSES OF MAIN ENGINE FAILURE
7 POSSIBLE CAUSES OF ALTERNATOR FAILURE
7 POSSIBLE CAUSES OF EMERGENCY GENERATOR FAILURE
8 POSSIBLE CAUSES OF BLACKOUTS

9 RECOMMENDATIONS
9 PREVENTIVE ACTIONS
13 CORRECTIVE ACTIONS

14 AREAS OF SPECIFIC FOCUS


14 EMERGENCY GENERATOR
14 REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
15 GENERAL
16 LOAD SHEDDING OR OTHER EQUIVALENT ARRANGEMENTS
16 DEFINITIONS
16 REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
17 PREFERENCIAL TRIPPING SYSTEM
18 FEEDING BACK POWER FROM THE EMERGENCY
SWITCHBOARD TO THE MAIN SWITCHBOARD
19 RECOVERY AFTER BLACKOUT
20 ISM CODE

22 SUMMARY

23 CASE STUDIES

2
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

INTRODUCTION

he purpose of this booklet is When they occur during navigation


T to provide general guidance
and practical advice to marine
in non-congested waters, incidents
such as these increase the risk
Modern
engine room
with two
engineers and ship owners on to the vessel and personnel but medium
speed main
blackout and main engine failures, rarely result in dangerous or life-
engines
the risks associated with propulsion threatening outcomes.
loss and the precautions to
manage these risks. However, when they occur during
manoeuvring in restricted areas
It is not intended to replace such as traffic lanes, when
official IMO regulations and entering or leaving port, or when
guidance notes or any document a vessel is navigating close to a
that forms part of a vessel’s coast during heavy weather,
safety management system. these risks become critical and
may result in a major casualty.
Blackouts, propulsion limitations,
total loss of propulsion and loss
of steering capability are all
serious incidents.
3
GLOSSARY

AVR Automatic Voltage Regulator


LSMGO Low Sulphur MGO
MGO Marine Gas Oil
SECA Sulphur Emission Control Area
STCW Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers
ULSMGO Ultra LSMGO
UPS Uninterruptible Power System

BLACKOUT DEAD SHIP CONDITION


According to MSC.1/Circ.1464/Rev.1 According to SOLAS Chapter II-1
paragraph 6 (Interpretation of Regulations 3 paragraph 8 and to
SOLAS Chapter II-1 Regulations MSC.1/Circ.1464/Rev.1 paragraph
42 & 43 paragraph 3.4), it means 3.1 (Interpretation of SOLAS
a “dead ship” condition initiating Chapter II-1 Regulations 26
event. According to the BV Rules paragraph 4), it is the condition
Part C Chapter 2 Section 1 under which the main propulsion
paragraph 3.29.1, a “blackout plant, boilers and auxiliaries are
situation” means that the main and not in operation due to the absence
auxiliary machinery installations, of power. In addition, no stored
including the main power supply, energy for starting and operating
are out of operation but the the propulsion plant, the main
services for bringing them into source of electrical power and
operation (e.g. compressed air, other essential auxiliaries is
starting current from batteries, assumed to be available.
etc.) are available.

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REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF
PROPULSION LOSS

The main serious consequences


for the ship that might occur as
the result of a blackout or
propulsion loss are contact,
collision and / or grounding.

The consequences of third party


claims may be substantial – in
time, expense and reputation. The
implications of propulsion loss
may be significant either affecting
or stopping navigation altogether
in ports and their approaches, in
canal systems, in waterways for
days, weeks and months. Claims
as a result of collisions, groundings,
consequential pollution and ‘off-
hire’, transhipment costs – all in
addition to any repair costs - as
well as claims from shore based
facilities operators of loading and
discharge equipment and facilities
are all likelihoods in the event of
damage. Media and stakeholder
interests will all need to be
addressed.

Bottom damages as
a consequence of
machinery failures1

1
5
On the top photo, the glass jar is here to highlight the degree to which the shell plating is set in.
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF
PROPULSION LOSS
The main causes of propulsion loss by the London P&I club members’ ships
and for which P&I investigation was required during the last five full P&I
years are as follows:

Other
Insufficient or
6% ineffective
maintenance
Fire
17% 29%

Equipment Human
failure Error

24% 24%

Main engine failures and blackouts starting supplementary machinery


which result in large claims tend to such as additional steering motors,
occur when a ship is at its most starting and stopping bow thrusters,
vulnerable. The stable electrical starting general service pumps,
consumption which is a characteristic powering up hydraulic equipment
of a ship during deep sea passage and running deck machinery).
is replaced by more volatile or Compliance with the low sulphur
variable consumption requirements fuel regulations and changes from
due to additional load placed on the one grade of fuel to another has
electrical generation equipment added to incidents of propulsion
when the ship begins manoeuvring failures and power interruptions.
in more confined waters (e.g. by

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POSSIBLE CAUSES OF MAIN ENGINE FAILURE
Blackout while the ship is being manoeuvred
Fuel oil poor quality or and also vital that the pilot and bridge
contamination (e.g. fines, water or team are made aware of the
bacteria inside the tank) maximum number of consecutive
engine starts they can demand.
Insufficient attention to proper
fuel changeover procedure when Insufficient or ineffective
entering or exiting SECA maintenance of electronic and
pneumatic control systems (for
Failure of starting air (insufficient example, filters in pneumatic
pressure in the bottle). High or control systems are often
excessive numbers of engine starts neglected)
and stops while manoeuvring will
deplete pressure in the main Loss of control air pressure
engine start bottles. This may lead Loss of lubrication
to the engine failing to start with a Engine automated shut down or
consequent loss of navigational even slow down at a critical time
control at critical times, such as
when docking. It is important that Shaft intermediate bearing failure
the start air pressure is monitored Stern tube bearing failure

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF ALTERNATOR FAILURE


Load share issues Failure of AVR
Loss of exciter voltage due to
failure of diodes

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF EMERGENCY GENERATOR


FAILURE
Batteries in poor condition Fuel oil poor quality or
Failure of starting system contamination
Switchboard selector switch Fuel oil starvation
not in “auto” start position
7
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF BLACKOUTS
Human error Fuel issue, e.g.:
Control equipment failures (e.g. - blocked filters
governor failures, defective trips - poor changeover procedures
for high temperature cooling or - failure to bleed the stand by filter
low lube oil pressures) before putting it back in use
- Poor quality (for instance,
Main engine failure whilst using water in fuel)
shaft generator (e.g. shaft - fuel supply piping and pump
generator tripping whilst auto failures (fuel starvation)
start and load share of auxiliary - loss of air control supply to fuel
generators inoperative) tank valves
Automation failure (e.g. AVR Mechanical failure, e.g.:
defect or auxiliary load control / - lack of compression
sharing failures) - engine seizure
Electrical failure (e.g. overload, - loss of lubrication
reverse power trip or - overheating
preferential trip device failure) - scavenge fires
Other causes (e.g. fire in electrical
panel / main switchboard)

A significant number of blackouts are caused by electrical failures when


starting bow thrusters and deck machinery - such as mooring winches or
cranes - when insufficient electrical power is available. Awareness is
required that the starting current of electrical motors may be several times
the full ‘on load’ current. Starting large motors may trip breakers and lead to
blackouts. Despite built-in safety features in modern ships to prevent such
an occurrence, it is a sensible precaution to establish routines to ensure the
availability of adequate generating power before starting large electrical
motors. Many modern ships have automation to ensure that before items
such as the bow thruster can be started there must be sufficient electrical
capacity available; however it is not unknown for the automation to fail.

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REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following guidance is drawn Ensure water is regularly drained


from our experience and may be the from fuel oil tanks, in order to
difference between an occurrence prevent water build up and
of a problem being a minor carryover in the fuel and to lessen
problem and a major casualty. the risk of bacterial contamination
/ microbial infestation. Removal
of water or reducing its presence
to a minimum is the best method
PREVENTIVE to prevent microbial infestation.
(considered to be good practice)
Ensure that system temperature
Ensure correct maintenance of and pressure alarms, fuel filter
all equipment: engines (including differential pressure transmitters,
their control and automation etc. are accurate, tested and
systems), purifiers, filters, fuel operational.
systems and sealing arrangements.
Ensure that engineers are fully
Ensure that no maintenance is familiar with all engine room
carried out on filters and fuel systems and their pipelines,
systems when on standby or including the changeover
approaching restricted procedures from heavy fuel oil to
navigational areas. MGO / LSMGO / ULSMGO and
Ensure fuel oil viscosity and vice versa. Engineers should also
temperature control equipment be familiar with the method of
is accurate and fully operational. changing from remote control to
local control of valves and
Ensure that all engineers are equipment.
aware of how to isolate one
cylinder on the main engine in Establish ‘failure to start’ /
the event of failure, so that this blackout procedures / checklist
does not have to be stopped until as well as emergency response
convenient. manual / procedures / checklist /
instructions. These should include
Wait for the results of tests on familiarisation with operation
newly supplied fuel oil to ensure locally and from the engine control
that the fuel is ‘on spec’ before room, as well as information to
changing-over to the new one. ensure control of the vessel’s
It is recommended not to mix propulsion when operating on
bunkers from two different emergency power.
suppliers in the same tanks.
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

RECOMMENDATIONS

Blackout / engine failure / no local indicator that informs


emergency propulsion control the crew that the batteries are
drills should be carried out at discharged. Electrically driven
least every quarter 2 and it should starter motors take power from the
realistically simulate an batteries, however if the batteries
emergency, in order for the crew to remain connected to the battery
be ready to respond to the charger during test starts of the
situation. To be well prepared, engine this may be masking the
trained and practiced avoids panic. fact that the batteries are unable
Such procedures should be part to hold a charge. Batteries
of the ship’s Safety Management should be checked as part of the
Manual (SMM) / System (SMS). weekly routine.
Ensure the manning level / team Ensure that all means of starting
composition in the engine the emergency generator are
(control) room is compliant with tested and that all crew members
the international (e.g. STCW are familiar with them. It is
convention), national and local recommended that the starting
regulations when entering and instructions for all means of
leaving ports, manoeuvring or in starting of the emergency
hazardous situations. generator are posted in the
emergency generator room so
Ensure that any loss of power and/or
that these can be referred to by
propulsion incident is investigated
crew members.
and a root cause determined, by
properly trained personnel. Ensure that the emergency
generator is operated on load as
Ensure the corrective actions of
close to the maximum capacity
a possible previous loss of
as possible, for at least one hour,
propulsion / electrical power
every month 3.
have been duly implemented in
order to prevent reoccurrence. Ensure the starting air pressure
is monitored by the watchkeeping
Ensure that weekly tests of the
engineers when manoeuvring and
emergency generator are carried
ensure that the deck department
out with the battery charger
is aware of the limitations of
disconnected from the mains. It
starting air availability.
is important to check the condition
of the batteries as there may be

2
Due to the more frequent change-over of crew (many who spend no more than four months on board),
it is essential to carry out drills with each cohort of crew so that all are familiar with the procedures.
3
The UK Marine Safety Agency in the Marine Guidance Note (MGN) 52 recommends that this is done weekly.
Typical air
compressors
on a vessel

During manoeuvring operations any changeover has been carried


or when on standby, run two (or out) and suitable entries made in
more) generators in parallel both the deck and engine room
whilst ensuring sufficient power logbooks.
availability should one either
Establish procedures to ensure that
stop or trip. Monitor and balance
there is adequate electrical capacity
switchboard power loads equally.
available before starting up lateral
All watchkeeping engineers
thrusters, mooring equipment or
should be trained in manually
other heavy equipment, bearing in
operating load share, putting
mind that simultaneous starting
generators on the board and
of large electric motors will lead to
taking generators off the board.
a large power surge and possible
It is self-evident; however,
overload. A protective interlock
practicing these techniques
prevents the bow thruster from
should be done regularly so that
starting or operating on one
these are second nature.
generator (but this can fail).
Test the astern operation of the
Tests of the lateral thrusters and
main engine prior to arriving at
mooring equipment should be
the pilot station and, if practical,
carried out well before entering
before approaching the berth.
restricted waters and undertaking
This test should be carried out
critical manoeuvres.
on the fuel which the vessel will
use for manoeuvring (i.e. after
Ships fitted with shaft generators Over-current tests for the vessel’s
should, where appropriate, switch main generator breakers have to
to auxiliary generator power well be carried out to the satisfaction
before entering restricted waters of the classification society
and well before undertaking during periodic surveys.
critical manoeuvres. Manufacturer’s A regular thermographic survey
guidelines should be followed and of the switchboard should be
ship’s staff guided accordingly. carried out to monitor for loose
Engineers should change over to connections or overheating
manoeuvring mode and be equipment.
standing by in the Engine Control The alarm printer, where fitted,
Room (ECR) prior to the vessel should be maintained correctly,
entering the port’s seaward such that the printout is legible,
approaches. A nominated point as this is often a valuable source
at which the machinery status is of information regarding the
to be changed from sea mode to cause of the blackout.
manoeuvring mode or an end of
sea passage position should be
included in the passage plan.

Digital and thermal images


of a switchboard breaker fault
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

RECOMMENDATIONS

CORRECTIVE Crew member(s) may have to be


sent to the emergency generator
Master to follow the company SMS room in case this generator did
procedures for loss of propulsion, not automatically start and in
often described in a stand-alone order to try to start it.
document called the “Emergency Crew member(s) may have to be sent
Procedures Manual”. to the steering room in order to use
Position of the vessel and time need the emergency steering but the
to be recorded accurately in the deck master and deck officers should
log book and in the engine log book. be aware that this is less effective
Anchors may have to be dropped in with the engine stopped and the
order to reduce the ship’s speed. vessel’s forward movement through
When manoeuvring in confined the water is reduced below
waters the anchors should be steerage speed.
‘cleared’ for immediate use. In order to restore power to the
Good and efficient communication main switchboard during a blackout,
between the engine room and the the power from the emergency
bridge. The bridge and engine switchboard can be fed back to
room should exchange critical the main switchboard (refer to the
information so that key personnel relevant section below).
have a full understanding of the In case of an overload of current,
situation and can make informed the reset button may have to be
decisions. Each department must used to reset the electrical
quickly inform the other department breaker after it has been tripped
of what they require, what is due to an overload of current.
happening at their station, what It will probably be necessary to
problems they are experiencing, bring the engine to STOP in order
and what risks are present. If to enable the restart. Control
bridge and engine room should be taken by the engine
personnel do not exchange room until the power has been
critical information during an fully restored.
emergency, there is a risk that
key personnel will not
be fully aware of the situation and
may make ineffective decisions.
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

AREAS OF
SPECIFIC FOCUS

EMERGENCY GENERATOR

Regulatory framework
According to SOLAS Chapter II-1 starting the emergency generating
regulations 42 & 43 paragraph set is provided, the single source of
3.1.2, where the emergency source stored energy shall be protected to
of electrical power is a generator, preclude its complete depletion by
it shall be started automatically the automatic starting system.
upon failure of the electrical supply
from the main source of electrical SOLAS Chapter II-1 regulations
power and shall be automatically 42 & 43 paragraph 3.4 requires
connected to the emergency that for ships constructed on or
switchboard. The automatic after 1 July 1998, where electrical
starting system and the power is necessary to restore
characteristic of the prime mover propulsion, the capacity [of the
shall be such as to permit the emergency source] shall be
emergency generator to carry its sufficient to restore propulsion to
full rated load as quickly as is safe the ship in conjunction with other
and practicable, subject to a machinery, as appropriate, from a
maximum of 45 seconds. Unless a dead ship condition within 30
second independent means of minutes after blackout.

14
MSC.1/Circ.1464/Rev.1 paragraph 6 used for starting the propulsion
(interpretation of SOLAS Chapter plant, the main source of electrical
II-1 regulations 42 & 43) states that power and/or other essential
emergency generator stored auxiliaries (emergency generator
starting energy is not to be directly excluded).

General
An emergency generator is fitted The emergency generator will not
in case none of the vessel’s normal supply power to all the equipment.
generator capacity is available for Power will only be supplied to
the supply of electrical power. As machinery and equipment that are
per the rules and regulations it necessary and of critical
should be able to run for 18 hours importance.
continuously.

Examples of machinery fed through the emergency generator include 4:

Emergency transformer M/E control system power supply unit


Local firefighting main panel Battery charger for rescue boat
Fire detection system control cabinet One steering gear motor
Navigational light indicator panel Emergency fire pump
E/R control console Emergency fire pump room fan
Smoke detection system Local fire fighting
Emergency D/G room lighting Main air compressor
UPS for C02 release alarm system Breathing air compressor
Public address main unit Elevator
Bridge control console Some lighting
Battery charger & distribution board

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15
It may differ from vessel to vessel and the crew should be fully aware of what is supplied from the
emergency generator on their own vessel.
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

AREAS OF
SPECIFIC FOCUS
LOAD SHEDDING Regulatory framework
OR OTHER According to SOLAS Chapter II-1 Regulation 54
EQUIVALENT paragraph 2, the main source of electrical
power shall comply with the following:
ARRANGEMENTS
Where the electrical power can normally
be supplied by one generator, suitable
load-shedding arrangements shall
Definitions be provided to ensure the integrity of
supplies to services required for
(MSC.1/Circ.1464/Rev.1 paragraph 4
> interpretation of SOLAS Chapter II-1 propulsion and steering as well as
Regulation 41 paragraph 5.1.2): the safety of the ship. In the case of
loss of the generator in operation,
adequate provision shall be made for
Primary essential services automatic starting and connecting to
are those services which need the main switchboard of a stand-by
to be in continuous operation generator of sufficient capacity to
to maintain propulsion and permit propulsion and steering and
steering. to ensure the safety of the ship with
automatic restarting of the essential
Secondary essential services
auxiliaries including, where
are those services which need
necessary, sequential operations.
not necessarily be in
continuous operation to If the electrical power is normally
maintain propulsion and supplied by more than one generator
steering but which are running in parallel operation, provision
necessary for maintaining the shall be made (for instance by load
vessel’s safety. shedding) to ensure that, in case of loss
of one of these generating sets, the
Services for habitability are remaining sets are kept in operation,
those services which need to without overload, to permit uninterrupted
be in operation for maintaining operation of propulsion and steering,
the ship’s minimum comfort and to ensure the safety of the ship.
conditions for the crew and
passengers. According to SOLAS Chapter II-1 Regulation 41
paragraph 5.1.2:
The load shedding or other equivalent
arrangements shall be provided to
protect the generators required by this
regulation against sustained overload.
16
According to the interpretation in
MSC.1/Circ.1464/Rev.1 paragraph 4.9:
Primary essential services should Preferential tripping system
not be included in any automatic The preferential trip is a part of the
load shedding or other equivalent ship’s generator protection system. It is
arrangements; the electrical arrangement on ships
Secondary essential services may which is designed to disconnect the
be included in the automatic load non-essential circuits (i.e. supplying
shedding or other equivalent non-essential load) from the main
arrangement provided disconnection bus bar in case of partial failure or
will not prevent services required overload of the main supply.
for safety being immediately available The non-essential circuits or loads on
when the power supply is restored ships are air conditioning, exhaust and
to normal operating conditions ventilation fans, and galley equipment
Services for habitability may be which can be disconnected
included in the load shedding or momentarily and can be connected
other equivalent arrangement. again after fault finding. The main
advantage of preferential trip is that it
According to the interpretations in helps in preventing the operation of
MSC.1/Circ.1464/Rev.1 paragraph 5.4.3 and main circuit breaker trip and loss of
IACS UI SC157 paragraph 2.3: power on essential services and thus
The load shedding should be prevents blackout and overloading of
automatic. generator.
The non-essential services, The preferential trip operates at timed
services for habitable conditions intervals and the load is removed
may be shed and where necessary, accordingly. If the overload still persists,
additionally the secondary essential then an audible and visual alarm is
services, sufficient to ensure the sounded. The preferential trip is an
connected generator set(s) is/are important electrical circuit which helps
not overloaded. remove excessive load from the main
bus bar, thus preventing a blackout.
According to BV Rules Part C Chapter 2
Section 3 paragraph 2.2.18 (f): The crew should be familiar with the
equipment which is shed on the
On ships having remote control of operation of the preferential trip. This
the ship’s propulsion machinery from is often a multi stage process with first
the navigating bridge, means are and second stage tripping arranged
provided, or procedures are in place, to shed load. The items are usually
so as to ensure that supplies to indicated on the switchboard to show
essential services are maintained what is shed for each level of trip.
during manoeuvring conditions in
order to avoid a blackout situation.
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REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

AREAS OF
SPECIFIC FOCUS

FEEDING BACK POWER FROM THE EMERGENCY


SWITCHBOARD TO THE MAIN SWITCHBOARD
Typical In order to restore power to the main the emergency generator to power
switchboard switchboard after a blackout, the power the main switchboard.
on a from the emergency switchboard can
modern When ready to restore power to the
vessel be fed back to the main switchboard.
main switchboard from the main
According to the IMO circular MSC.1/ generators, it will be necessary to
Circ.1464/Rev.1 paragraph 3.1.2 open the tie-in breaker in the control
(interpretation of SOLAS Chapter II-1 room. This will isolate the emergency
regulation 26 paragraph 4), where generator from the main switchboard.
the emergency source of power is It is now possible to close the main
an emergency generator which generator breaker, which will in turn
complies with regulation II-1/44, open the emergency generator breaker.
IACS SC185 and IACS SC124, this To restore power to the emergency
generator may be used for restoring switchboard, crank the tie-in breaker
operation of the main propulsion plant, and close. The feedback breaker
boilers and auxiliaries where any (emergency generator room) will open
power supplies necessary for engine and may be closed by pressing the
operation are also protected to a similar push button on the main switchboard.
level as the starting arrangements.
Before back-feeding power from the
This can be accomplished by shedding emergency switchboard, breakers
all nonessential load from the main for non-essential equipment must
switchboard i.e. fans, galley non- be opened in order to prevent
essentials etc. and closing the overloading and tripping the
feedback breaker thereby allowing emergency generator breaker.
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RECOVERY AFTER A BLACKOUT
During blackout and failure to start main engine lube oil pump and main
the emergency generator the stand engine jacket water pump as per the
by generators may be able to be procedure put forward in the SMS
manually started possibly after for such recovery after blackout.
reset of trips. It is not unknown for
ship staff to concentrate too much Reset breakers and start all the
on starting the emergency other required machinery and
generator but failing to recognise system. Then reset breakers that
that the auxiliary generators may are included in preferential tripping
be available for start. sequence (non-essential machinery).
Again these start up procedures
Before starting the generator set, should be part of the SMS.
start the pre-lubrication priming
pump if the supply for the same Once power has been restored
is given from the emergency on vessels with an “auto restart
generator; if not, then use the sequence” for electrical
manual priming handle (provided equipment, personnel should be
on some auxiliary engines). delegated to ensure that all
essential equipment has started
Start the generator and take it on and that other necessary
load. Then immediately start the equipment has been restarted.

Top
platform
of a large
slow speed
marine
engine

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REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

AREAS OF
SPECIFIC FOCUS
ISM CODE
The “International Management 10.1 The company should establish
code for the Safe operation of procedures to ensure that the
ships and for pollution ship is maintained in conformity
prevention” (ISM code) at section with the provisions of the
9.1 requires that the SMS should relevant rules and regulations
include procedures ensuring that and with any additional
non-conformities, accidents and requirements which may be
hazardous situations are established by the company.
reported to the company, are 10.2 In meeting these
investigated and analysed with requirements the company
the objective of improving safety should ensure that:
and pollution prevention.
1 inspections are held at
We have mentioned under the appropriate intervals;
section on preventive actions 2 any non-conformity is
above the importance of a root reported, with its possible
cause analysis and the cause, if known;
implementation of the findings of 3 appropriate corrective
any investigation. This is a action is taken
requirement of the ISM code. Procedures should be developed to
Section 10 of this code, as ensure that maintenance, surveys,
amended, covers requirements repairs and dry-docking are carried
for maintenance of the ship with out in a planned and structured
the below excerpts given to manner with safety as a priority.
highlight what the company and Maintenance procedures should
vessel staff should put in place include (amongst others) :
for main engine and electrical - steering gear;
equipment maintenance and safe - main engine and auxiliary
operation : machinery;
- emergency lighting
The company should arrange for
inspections of its vessels to be
carried out at regular intervals.
These inspections should be
executed in compliance with the
20
appropriate procedures by event of sudden failure. The
competent and qualified personnel. procedures implemented should
include the regular testing of
There should be procedures for stand-by systems in order to ensure
reporting non-conformities and that one failure does not result in
deficiencies that should include a the total loss of that critical
time scale for completion of function. Maintenance routines
corrective action. should include the regular and
10.3 The company should identify systematic testing of all such
equipment and technical critical and stand-by systems.
systems the sudden operational
failure of which may result in Critical equipment listings may
hazardous situations (i.e. include (amongst others) :
critical equipment). - generators including
The SMS should provide for emergency generator;
specific measures aimed at - steering gear;
promoting the reliability of - fuel systems;
such equipment or systems. - lubricating oil systems;
These measures should - emergency stops and remote
include the regular testing of closing devices;
stand-by arrangements and - communications systems;
equipment or technical - main engine propulsion systems.
systems that are not in IACS have produced a nine page
continuous use. guidance document entitled “IACS
10.4 The inspections mentioned Recommendation 74 “A GUIDE
in 10.2 as well as the TO MANAGING MAINTENANCE
measures referred to in 10.3 IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
should be integrated into REQUIREMENTS OF THE ISM
the ship’s operational CODE”” and we would
maintenance routine. recommend that this document
Once the critical systems have been is made available onboard in
identified, procedures should be addition to this Guideline.
developed to ensure reliability of
these systems or the provision of
alternative arrangements in the

21
REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

SUMMARY

Whether a blackout or loss of is much more likely that when an


propulsion incident gives rise to incident does occur the
$5 or $50 million claim depends consequences will be much
mainly on vessel location at the reduced. We must all remember
time of the incident. However, as that if an incident has occurred in
we have said above, by investigating benign conditions, it can and will
all incidents properly and taking happen again when the conditions
preventive and corrective actions, it are not so benign.

From our perspective it is considered that all propulsion loss incidents


should be treated with the same level of urgency of investigation and
root cause analysis; regardless of the overall severity of the situation
experienced. We note that a large proportion of propulsion loss
investigations identify that the blackout or main engine failure has a
history of previous occurrence; and that proper detailed root cause
analysis and near miss investigation could have prevented the
subsequent casualty.

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REDUCING THE RISK OF PROPULSION LOSS

CASE STUDIES

A. B. C.
A converted ferry carrying out The vessel was using shaft A vessel which used only marine
a harbour pleasure cruise with generator in restricted waters. diesel oil as fuel on board
400 revellers on a New Year’s The engine room was on stand- bunkered at a port in Northern
party, lost propulsion when the by, as the vessel navigated Europe. At this port the vessel
drive coupling between the between buoys in a dredged also loaded a full cargo of grain.
gearbox and the propeller shaft channel proceeding up river. Shortly after departure the main
sheared causing a collision Approaching a much larger engine stopped due to blockage
with a multi-million dollar vessel coming down river, the of the filters and failure of the
motor cruiser. vessel moved towards the edge fuel pumps (the alternators also
of the channel. The interaction failed). Investigation revealed
The converted ferry had been with the bank resulted in the significant quantities of water in
taken out of service after many main engine slowing down. the fuel oil settling and service
years. It was of an older design The decrease in main engine tanks and heavy bacterial
with propellers at each end (i.e. speed was sufficient to cause contamination.
a double ended ferry) and the the shaft generator breaker to
crew should have been able to open, and a blackout occurred. The vessel had to be towed to
transfer control to the other The interaction with the bank port where the fuel pumps were
end. It appears that no one pushed the bow of the vessel replaced, the tanks, including
knew how to transfer control or back across the channel at double bottom storage tanks,
the crew lost situational 90 degrees to the original cleaned and treated with a
awareness due to a lack of course. The larger vessel biocide to remove the
training and practice. coming down stream collided contamination. This took
with the subject vessel approximately 10 days.
The vessel was eventually
assisted by some marine safety amidships. The subject vessel A root cause analysis identified
tugs that were setting up sank closing the channel for the failure of ship’s staff to
fireworks for New Year several days until such time as operate the purifier when
celebrations. the vessel was refloated. transferring fuel from the
If the correct procedures had settling to the service tank and
This is considered to be a the failure to drain water on a
collision caused by a lack of been followed, i.e. two
alternators in operation during regular basis from the service
properly documented and and settling tanks as the
prepared procedures. In addition standby while in restricted dominant causative factors.
the value of proper induction / waters, the casualty would have
familiarisation of on-signing been avoided.
officers and crew is also well
illustrated by this incident.

23
BC050 DCM R00 - September 2017 - Photo Credits : TMC Marine, Bureau Veritas, Pixel Thermographics Ltd
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