Queen Mary 2: CCL Photo Atrributed to 'Clicgauche'
Cunard cruise ship Queen Mary 2 suddenly lost power to all four propulsion pods for about an hour due to an engine room explosion as she neared Barcelona in the early hours of an Autumn morning last year. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but last week the U.K Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) issued a meticulous technical report on the accident, granting that, ‘Losing control of a large cruise liner due to an electrical blackout, with 3,823 people on board, is a serious concern.’ A short account of what went wrong follows.Cause of the ExplosionBackground is that the QM 2's CODLAG (Combined Diesel Electric And Gas Turbine) propulsion system with its variable speed AC electric motors constitute a major source of harmonic distortion to electricity supply (the change in the waveform of the supply voltage from the ideal sinusoidal wave-form) which unless corrected has a deleterious effect on other electrical components in... [More]
Most fires on board ships start in the engine room. One of the built-in safety features increasingly found compromised by U.S. Coastguard Port State Control Officers are malfunctioning fuel Quick-Closing Valves (QCVs). Some QCV’s are espied deliberately blocked by a variety of means according to Marine Safety Alert 01-11 putting the vessel and its crew at greater risk in a fire emergency.
QRV Wedged Open: Photo credit US Coastguard
Perhaps an overzealous application of the recommendation by the USCG that routine checks of QCV systems be carried out led to the following incident reported in the October 2011 edition of MARS (the Nautical Institute’s voluntary and confidential ‘Mariners’ Alerting and Reporting Scheme’) which again focussed attention on the operation of QCV’s. Blackout, Propulsion & Steering Shutdown Follows QCV Test at SeaA loaded small-sized gas tanker nearing the end of a coastal voyage had on board a company superi... [More]
Cruise ship Nordlys on a regular Hurtigruten scenic Norwegian coastal passage from Bergen to far-North Kirkenes with 262 passengers and crew on board, reported fire in the engine room last Thursday morning, 15, September not far (fortunately) from scheduled first port of call Ålesund, Norway, where she limped in to dock with smoke billowing from the funnel.
Cruise Ship Nordlys About to Enter Ålesund: Photo credit – Olav Helge Matvik/Norwegian Coastal Administration
Olav Fjell CEO of Hurtigruten described the fire as a tragedy (the chief engineer and a young assistant engineer were killed and a dozen or so injured). Which clearly it was, although had this major fire occurred later in the voyage, say with the ship beyond North Cape, a far greater disaster might have ensued. At all events, the fire raged on dockside in Ålesund until it was extinguished mid-afternoon, leaving the flooded hull with a threatening 22 degree list and shore pumps workin... [More]