This is from Tote’s report.
The E/R logs were lost of course, the lube oil amt that was used came from the stability program. It’s very probable that lube oils may not have been routinely updated as they typically don’t change much.
According to the Machinery Operating Manual for the El Faro, the lube oil sump had a
low level alarm set at 18 inches and the high level alarm was set at 33 inches. (MBI Ex. 320, p.
The off duty Chief Engineer from the El Faro, who departed the vessel on August 11,
2015, began serving as Chief Engineer on the El Faro in 2006. (NTSB 10/8/2015, pp.5-6). The off duty Chief Engineer testified that the main engine lube oil system was normally run at a levelof around 27 inches. (MBI, 2/23/16 at p.97). Another former Chief Engineer testified that he recalled the normal operating level to be 28 to 32 inches, but that operating level is inconsistent with other evidence, particularly the main engine’s approved plans, operating instructions, and historical engine logs. (Appendix A (J.Daly), p.14).
The operating instructions for the main engine lube oil system on board the El Faro state
as follows: “When necessary, add lube oil from the storage settling tank to the sump via purifier
to maintain a normal level at 27 inches. Record the amount added in the logbook.” (MBI Exhibit
Lube Oil Sump Level At Departure - Records
The engine logs for the voyage 185S, which contain the sounding of the lube oil sump at
the time of the loss, were on board and lost with the vessel.
The engine room log book entries for the year preceding indicated a lube oil sump level
predominantly between 25 to 26 inches. Oil was added when the sump level reached
approximately 23 inches. (Appendix A (J.Daly), p.14).
The last available engine log for the El Faro was for September 1, 2015, which shows a
lube oil sump level of 26 inches. (MBI Ex.341). A former Chief Engineer of the El Faro testified
that lube oil levels changed very little over time - approximately 1-2 inches per quarter. (MBI
02/08/17 (draft), p.474).
Information was presented during the MBI investigations using CargoMax to determine
main engine sump levels. (MBI Ex.412, p.3). TOTE expert, Mr. John Daly, determined that this
was not a reliable record to rely on for the purposes of defining the precise level of oil in the lube
oil sump. The volumes of liquids in most engine room tanks, and changes to them, have an
insignificant impact in calculating vessel stability, and, therefore, these records are generally not
maintained with the same level of regularity as engine room logs. (Appendix A (J.Daly), pp.13-
14). We believe the MBI’s use of the assumed lube oil sump operating level of 24.6 inches is
> likely in error and, based on the available evidence, it is more likely that the engine log for the El Faro was for September 1, 2015 (26 inches) provides the most reliable figure. (MBI Ex. 341);
(Appendix A (J.Daly), pp.14-15).
To illustrate this further with regard to the record relied on by the MBI, it appears that the
specific gravity of the lube oil, listed in CargoMax, is apparently based on a default value which is not exactly consistent with the actual specific gravity of the lube oil in the tank. From a
stability standpoint, this is of little overall consequence. However, when the correct specific
gravity of the lube oil is used, the reported 4.2 long tons of lube oil in the sump equates to a
sounding in the lube oil sump of approximately 25.5 inches. Id.