Human Error to Blame for ‘Majority’ of Auxiliary Engine Damage Claims -Marine Insurer


Wonder if they had just repaired the engine on this boat?



Surely there are quite a few engineers at sea who are unfit to even change a flat tire on a car.



oh jeez - here it goes



The blame lies squarely with the IMO in the way officers are examined. If the industry knows the probability of failures of A/Es , and the causes, then these should be structured into the examination.

I have had an occasion where 2 A/Es out of 3 went inoperable right in the middle of the Pacific, because the office had not supported the maintenance schedule ( just run for one more voyage, will you, while we organise the spares). The Ch Engr was able to make some maintenance but they couldn’t take the full designed load.

I would put the blame on the Ch Engr for not putting his foot down. Even when he did get the spares, the crew were quite incapable of completing the whole maintenance by themselves, without active participation by the Ch Engr. And then they did fuck up the installation of one T/C.

Sailing through the North Pacific with 2 out of 3 A/Es is definitely risky, to say the least.



Experienced a con rod failure with a medium speed diesel. Absolute destruction was averted because the Chief was standing uncomfortably close when the big end let lose and shut it down. The finger was pointed in his direction but no work had been under taken by this crew. A previous survey under previous owners revealed that a Ring spanner had been modified onboard to torque the nuts from the wrong side of the engine to avoid removing the correct crankcase door that was obstructed by a local control box.
In another vessel a large V sixteen medium speed diesel, fourteen thousand kilowatts, oversped and cleared the pier of personnel after overhaul with the noise before becoming scrap. The ship sailed to Alang beach on the other engine.



KPC- Good Evening.

During my 12 years ashore we had the following noteworthy occurrences in our fleet

  1. Latent Part Defects- (Specifically Piston Ring Glands)- Below 500 hours- 4 instances.
  2. Incorrect Parts Tolerances- (Specifically HS Bearing Retainer)- Upon Start Up- 1 Instance.
  3. Incorrect Maintenance Procedure (Specifically Overtightening R/A Bolts)- 1 Instance
  4. Incorrect Maintenance Procedure (Specifically Lash Set Backwards Between In/Ex)- 1 Instance
  5. Incorrect Choice of Lubricant (Specifically using GP Grease in wrong application)- 1 Instance
  6. Undetermined (Governor Failure on First Start Up after Overhaul)- 1 Instance (Thought- Life Cycle Issue)
  7. Incorrect Design (Specifically Insufficient Interference Fit IWO Bearing Inner Race)- 8 Instances

As you can pretty well see- that was 5 failures directly attributable to the OEM, 3 failures due to not following proper procedures for maintenance, 1 Life Cycle Failure. 1 repetitive maintenance action because of premature bearing wear (accomplished 8 times in 12 years).

Further, some years ago I recall reading about insufficient lubricating oil pressure during a “normal” first start up after overhaul where there was “starvation feeding” due to not building up lubricating oil pressure fast enough… wiped main bearings…



Approximately 12 Overhauls (Major Overhauls- Main Engines/ Reduction Gears)

  1. Failures After In House Personnel Performed Overhaul- 1 (Latent Part Defect)
  2. Failures After OEM Performed Overhaul- 1
  3. Failures Due To Part/Design Defect (Latent)- 3

Because 1) was accomplished by a mix of In House and OEM Personnel- our Underwriter stated that we were better off financially to accomplish the overhauls with OEM Reps ONLY- because our cost would be lower. (Deductible- 100k, which was recoverable from the OEM Contractor). Failures on 2) and 3) were fully reimbursed for all costs including lost time…



That’s gold.

High and medium speed engine overhauls are a joy when you have the time, equipment, tools, spares, and a set-up with good access. You can’t rush it, you can’t jerry rig it, you can’t make-do if you want good results. It helps to have done it a lot, too. More training is helpful: if its hands-on training. Sitting in a classroom is not useful. Overhauling engines is a trade, not an exercise in reading or paperwork. It has to be clean, organised, with zen-like attention to detail. It can’t be legislated. And learning on an engine that needs to go into service again is inherently risky. What does the man say? The value of the experience gained is directly proportional to the cost of the screw-up? Something like that.



Most of AE problems will be solved if IMO would make it compulsory for 8000 hrly routines to be carried out only by OEM reps.
Also the management companies play around with spares. They will tell you that they have sent OEM spares, but these may be either imitation parts from China or refurbished parts from Alang. How would anyone know? Chinese parts will look exactly like OEM but the metallurgical specs will be way off. You will know only after 2000 hrs.

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