Poorly Maintained Engine Leads To Fire Onboard Ro-Ro Vessel

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The UK Maritime Accident Investigation Board reports on the investigation of the engine failure and fire on board the ro-ro cargo vessel Finlandia Seaways resulting in injury to one crewman.

Incident summary

On 16 April 2018, the Lithuanian registered ro-ro cargo vessel Finlandia Seaways suffered a catastrophic main engine failure that caused serious structural damage to the engine and a fire in the engine room.

The vessel’s third engineer, who was on duty in the engine room at the time, suffered serious smoke-related lung, kidney and eye injuries during his escape.

The investigation identified that the catastrophic engine failure and been initiated by the failure of a single component and found that the standard and management of maintenance carried out by the vessel operator’s maintenance support contractor was a significant causal factor.

Safety Issues

  • the engine’s connecting rods had not been maintained in accordance engine manufacturer’s instructions
  • defects introduced during component overhauls had not been identified by the ship’s crew or the company’s technical superintendents
  • the significance of the damage caused to the connecting rod small ends during overhaul was not fully appreciated and although a Class survey item, Class was not kept informed.
  • there were no emergency escape breathing devices on the secondary escape route used by the third engineer

Recommendations

A recommendation was made to MAN Energy Solutions and Lloyd’s Register (2018/121) to provide technical advice to DFDS on the actions the company should take to minimise the risk of a similar catastrophic engine failure, and any other vessel operators whose MAN engines might have been subjected to similar maintenance practices.

Further recommendations aimed at addressing the safety issues raised in this report have been made to the vessel operators, DFDS Seaways AB-Lithuania and its engine maintenance support contractor (2021/102), Diesel Service Group (2021/103-105).

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Source: UK MAIB

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