Older Ship Engines Concern MOU Inspectors, But Who’s to Blame?

By George Backwell at February 21, 2014 23:51
Filed Under: General, Marine Diesel Engines

More than half of all ship detentions involved ships of 20 years or more in age according to preliminary results from the recent Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Propulsion and Auxiliary Machinery in the Paris MoU region. Problem areas included the propulsion of the main engine, cleanliness of the engine room and emergency source of power/emergency generator.

There is a saying that research confirms what you already knew, and the essential inspection finding that things are more often not as they ought to be in an older engine room than in a more modern one is no exception to that rule. Why that should be so is not pointed up in the CIC preliminary report, so we’ll circle around that question here.

Cleanliness is next to …
There’s no excuse for badly maintained and dirty machinery in dirty engine room compartments –  no matter what the age of the ship – but far more time and effort is needed to keep them up to the mark. Sleeves have to be kept rolled up to avoid compromising the safety of the whole ship: according to classification society DNV GL casualty statistics, more than 60% of all engine room fires have been initiated by oil of one kind or another, fuel, lube or hydraulic fluid, coming into contact with a hot spot. The photo below taken aboard a Port State Control detained ship qualifies as a fair example of a marine accident waiting to happen.

Main engine detail bulk carrrier (keel laid 1980): Photo courtesy office of Paris MOU

Marine diesels are long-lived
There seems little excuse for owners unwilling to spend on maintenance and correct operation of engine plant, as marine engines have no ‘built-in obsolescence’, on the contrary the major manufacturers are fiercely competitive and work constantly to extend the durability of components, the periods between major overhauls, and to simplify operation and maintenance.

Such was evidenced in 2009 when the European Union approved the ‘Hercules-Beta Project’ which was a major international cooperative effort by major engine builders to maximise fuel efficiency, and to develop future generations of optimally efficient and clean marine diesel engines.

Propulsion and Auxiliary Machinery CIC Analysis
Richard Schiferli, Secretary-General Paris MoU on Port State Control informs that the detailed results of the September/November of 2013 campaign will be further analysed and findings will be presented to the 47th meeting of the Port State Control Committee in May 2014, after which the report will be submitted to the International Maritime Organization.

The CIC preliminary report can be accessed via: https://www.parismou.org/preliminary-results-cic-propulsion-and-auxiliary-machinery

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