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Main Engine Explosion

Dong Jia Kou port

A 623-foot-long bulk carrier faced a main engine air scavenge space explosion during approaching the Dong Jia Kou port in laden condition.
The vessel remained anchored there for the next 8 nights when was permitted by the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) to enter the Dong Jia Kou port by four tugs for discharging. In the meantime, the Owners arranged for repair berth in the near Qingdao Beihai Shipyard.

On completion of the discharging operation, the vessel was towed again to reach the shipyard. The Main Engine dismantling was commenced by flying team with the support of crew members and shipyard staff.

The main engine was severely affected resulting in the necessity to replace the auxiliary blower labyrinths, five cylinder liners, the safety valves of all six cylinders, the top piston ring of piston crown units nos. 2, 4 and 6, two stud bolts of cylinder cover no. 6 and one of no. 5, all six stuffing
boxes springs, scrapers and sealing rings, the foundation of the scavenging non-return valve box, the suction pipes and non-return valves of the scavenging trunk and the non-return valves, butterfly type, of the auxiliary
blowers. Moreover, the scavenge trunk needed to be chemical cleaned as well as the air cooler. Resulting from the explosion and subsequent engine operation, the main engine system lubricating oil was noted to have suffered heavy contamination. Therefore, lube oil system needed to be treated, including sump tanks, lube oil piping and filter. Finally, the turbocharger was found with the turbine blades tips partly missing, the shroud ring damaged and the labyrinths affected; the turbocharger rotor dynamic balancing and the replacement of the bearings, the labyrinths and the exhaust manifold grid, locking plate, were deemed necessary.

All the above lasted about 2,5 months and the Owners put forward a claim of about 2,500,000 USD.

The result of our investigation leaded to the conclusion that the damage to the Main Engines was caused by crew negligence, who failed to follow the Managers instructions about the inspection and the cleaning of the
scavenge spaces which exploded due to lube oil and carbon deposits ignition provoked by Main Engine high temperature