Marine Accident Brief: Diesel Generator Failure aboard Offshore Supply Vessel Red Dawn

Marine Accident Brief: Diesel Generator Failure aboard Offshore Supply Vessel Red Dawn

About 1544 local time on December 13, 2017, the offshore supply vessel Red Dawn was transiting through the North Pacific Ocean en route to resupply the radar station Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1). When the vessel was about 375 miles south-southwest of Amchitka Island, Alaska, its no. 2 main diesel engine suffered a mechanical failure that led to the ejection of components from the cylinder block, consequently destroying the engine. No pollution or injuries to the 12 crewmembers and 33 passengers on board were reported. The estimated damage to the Red Dawn totaled $957,000.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the mechanical failure on board offshore supply vessel Red Dawn was a connecting rod assembly on the no. 2 diesel engine that came loose and separated from the crankshaft due to improper tightening (torqueing) of the connecting rod bolts during the previous engine overhaul.

Full report here

The engine was running at rated speed, began making noise, and stopped suddenly.

Records showed that Caterpillar technicians conducted top-end overhauls on all four
MDGs during a prior shipyard period in Portland, Oregon, about 3 weeks before the accident

Better check the other ones

Screenshot from closed-circuit television at the time of the failure, looking aft from the inboard side
of MDG no. 2

Connecting rod, cap, bolts, and bearing halves of
cylinder no. 8. (Photo by Coast Guard)

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Looks to me like they kept running it for quite awhile after it started making a lot of noise which should have been a clue to shut it down.

Then, at 1539, MDG no. 4 experienced a high-exhaust-temperature alarm on cylinder no. 2. After a few minutes of
troubleshooting the condition, the engineers planned to start MDG no. 2 and subsequently shut down
MDG no. 4 to further evaluate the high-exhaust-temperature alarm. MDG no. 2 started and
synchronized to the electrical bus as designed. However, when shutting down MDG no. 4, the
engineers received a warning alarm indicating low lube oil pressure on MDG no. 2. Shortly
thereafter, that alarm was followed by another alarm and shutdown of MDG no. 2 at 1544.

They were never in the space. These guys had a high exhaust temp alarm, then a LO pressure, then another LO/shutdown alarms and an auto start/parallel engine. All within the span of a few minutes. Someone probably had one hand mashing the silence button and the other on the phone with the bridge.

Might be anal of me, but I was on the Black Foot and the engines were mounted with the generator fwd and the engine mounted fuel & oil filters aft. You can just make out the grab handle of the MCC in the pic and that was on the Fwd side of the Generator rooms.