What a real chief engineer thinks happened to to Dali and why it hit the bridge

The transcript can also be seen by clicking on the “View Transcript” button on the YouTube site.

Apparently a voice-to-text function thus Dolly / Dali


Thanks for heads up Kennebec_ Captain.

Makes sense, but I really don’t understand enough to know either way. I suspect that Chief Makoi is correct that there wasn’t time to start the M/E.

If the engine wasn’t backing hard than 'prop walk" is not a good explanation for the turn to starboard.

Don’t know at this point which pieces of the puzzle fit and which ones don’t.

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I’m not, I’m still sailing as CE. I spent about 6 years working on ME model engines and was fortunate to have a good working relationship with the automation guys at one of the local MAN offices. Of late I’ve been working on an earlier model MC. In the past almost 20 years I’ve been entirely on MAN powered ships, though some were diesel electrics. Prior to that it was Sulzer. I’ve primarily worked ROROs, ConRos and bulkers with a fairly even split between Jones Act ships and foreign built US flagged ships. No tankers, rigs or drill ships.

Apologies if I came across as snarky. The newer engines and automation in use now are leaps beyond what was being built when even I started and I’ve seen plenty of older truisms that aren’t the case anymore.

The ME engines are actually quite incredible to operate as you can test just about everything without starting the engine. Change out a fuel pump? Pull that cylinder up on the MOP and you can cycle the fuel pump. Change out an exhaust valve? You can cycle that too. Start air valve? Yep, it’s off of a solenoid. Need to take a cylinder offline while running? It’s literally three button pushes on the computer to stop the fuel pump for that cylinder. You can control the stroke length of the fuel pumps on the fly to balance the firing pressures for each cylinder. The downside is that there is far more wiring and some shipyards do a better job at mitigating that than others.

What I don’t have a lot of experience on is smaller medium or high speed stuff as is typically used on OSVs or tugs. I’ve worked on one Caterpillar and I’ve never worked on a Detroit, so I tend to stay out of the technical conversations regarding those other than to look on out of curiosity as they haven’t been my bread and butter.


Hello LouisD75
Silly me. I haven’t figured out how you guys paste a portion of the message on a reply … so did this the old fashioned ‘cut and paste’! I did mean to ask you when you retired. :slight_smile: .
But thanks for your message outlining your experience. Indicative of a curious mind!

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Run the cursor over the text you want to include. A small box with options appears above the text. Select “Quote” and the reply box opens with your selected text quoted.

Good day . I have some goodies for You too. Me as armchair investigator like reading serious stuff and guides. Love reading !!! and learning too. :wink:

Accident and Opperaational Saafety Analysis Volume e I: Acccideent Analysis Tecchniques

file.pdf (doe.gov)

Give me an hr or two and marine investigation manual will be heading Yoiur way :wink: - excellent stuff in my humble opinion.


sorry it took me minute only: ABS guide
ii_rca_guidance_e-feb14.pdf (eagle.org)

and MAIIF The Marine Accident Investigators’ International Forum

ENJOY. and nail them all SOB es

as U can see I am an old school but from the new wave and I can give U a gigabyte in nanosecond :joy: :rofl: :joy:

And I guess your better half will be able to hack your brains in half a second or less! :slight_smile:

JDCavo - by golly! It works! Thanks buddy.

Hacking??? !!! :joy: What are You talking about?? Does it have sth to do with agriculture??? Beats me .

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Why the assumption that the heavy smoke burst was from the gensets? When I watched the video, I immediately felt that a last-minute massive throttle response created the visible smoke. Like maybe the main engines restarted and it was a last-ditch effort to control the vessel before it struck the bridge. Only the captain, the pilots and the crew will know the real answer.


More of a “what if” type assumption. That it was the main engine was the initial assumption, possibly the main engine being used on a crash astern bell.

If you read through parts of the thread how ever some of the engineers here thought it more likely, but not a sure thing, that it was a generator. Main engine is not designed to run without electrical power so it’s a reasonable presumption that’s what would be started first given it’d be SOP.

The M/V Dali has a low RPM (82.5 RPM) direct drive 2-stroke engine. No gear or clutch involved.
It has to be re-started to go from ahead to astern.

I*m not an Engineer so I have one question re: Generators:
If an electric fault trips the power supply does the diesel engines stops, or keep on running until either power demand is restored, or the engine(s) are stopped “manually”? (i.e. somebody deliberatly order it to stop by pressing a button, or touching a screen)

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Hello Ombugge
Likely (as I have outlined on a previous topic) the electrical fault, opened the breakers of all the DGs. Think they must have had 3 of them (maybe even 4 if the reefer load was heavy - but not likely). While we have no real evidence, I think these are HV gensets. And as such the HV switchboard on a commercial vessel would be in a protected area and possibly locked as well. So, after the first blackout the feeder to the emergency opens and the EDG is going through its start sequence. I think it came on line and continued to operate until the accident. As soon as the emergency lights came on, possibly they entered the HV switchboard room or from the HMI closed the breaker to one of the DGs.
Then you have power in the MSB immediately (through the transformer from HV to MSB) and they go about restarting the main engine astern.
During this time, the second and third generators maybe going through the sync cycle and come on line as well. The timing of about a minute for the main lights to come on as we see the deck lights on the video is indicative the DGs did not stop.

Here’s the timeline:

  • 1:24:33 a.m. – Dali appears to suffer a total power failure as all its lights go out.

  • 1:25:31 a.m. – About a minute later, the ship’s lights flicker back on. Black smoke starts rising from somewhere aboard the ship.

  • 1:26:37 a.m. – The ship’s lights go dark again.

  • 1:27 a.m. – Dali appears to be colliding with one of the Key Bridge’s piers.

  • 1:27:10 a.m. – The ship’s lights come back on.

Lights go out for 58 seconds then flicker back on - black smoke from the stack.
Lights stay on for 66 seconds then go out again.
Lights stay out for 33 seconds then come back on - 10 seconds after the allision

I think the lights flicker just before they go dark on the first power failure. Don’t see any flicker when it came on. Are you seeing this differently?

Time line is from the text in a news article. Not from watching the video. Could be in error.

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