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Main Engine failure 02

At sea

An 833-foot-long bulk carrier entered the Shipyard planned to carry out a big conversion. During such conversion, Main Engine was completely overhauled by shipyard personnel. Inter alia, all exhaust valves were opened and moving parts sent out to Shanghai workshop to be re-conditioned.

On completion, the vessel departed the shipyard bound for Manila. During sea passage, the 2nd Engineer noted a Main Engine fuel oil inlet low pressure alarm; duty wiper immediately went down to Engine Room finding fire between Main Engine exhaust valves nos. 3 and 4. Engine crew immediately reported the accident to the bridge, fire alarm was raised followed by Public Address “Fire in Engine Room” and Main Engine was immediately stopped. all crew mustered to combat the fire. All ventilation and entrances/access to engine was closed and the emergency fire pump was switched on, while water mist fire-fighting system was automatically activated. In the meantime, crew members started to put the fire out by hydrant. Finally, the fire was extinguished. The Owners were forced to request the towage of the vessel under BIMCO Towage agreement.

As a result, Main engine parts were burnt; the Alpha lubricators and intermediate box of units nos. 2, 3 and 4, the Alpha lubricator system cables of all units, the reversing cylinder of units nos. 2, 3 and 4, ahead and the astern position sensors on the reversing cylinder of units nos. 2, 3 and 4 and its junction boxes and cables, the exhaust and jacket water temperature sensors and the cables of units no. 2, 3 and 4 and the turbocharger lub. oil inlet pressure sensor cables were renewed by local company under supervision of the maker engineers.

We supported the vessel’s H&M U’writers in the recovery action for about 1,000,000 USD against the shipyard since the main engine overhaul was carried out by shipyard employees. Inter alia, shipyard workers fitted the Main Engine fuel valves and fuel oil return pipes back into position. Allegedly shipyard personnel did not properly connect the return oil pipe which got disconnected due to vibration while Main Engine in use. The return oil sprayed to exhaust pipe and ignited due to high temperature, causing the fire in engine room and consequent damages. The shipyard declared that the pipe had been fixed by shipyard workers, but only to the other end which connected to fuel valve; the union fitting to the pipe side was not affected. In view of above, they were in opinion that the accident was due to poor quality of return pipe which broke and not to the negligence of their workers. The pipe, however, is connected to the fuel valve by a conical elbow fitting, therefore, it could not be dismantled without before disconnecting the pipe.