Maintenance Work Causes Majority of Auxiliary Engine Damage in Vessels: Swedish Club

January 9, 2018

The majority of all auxiliary engine damage takes place immediately after maintenance work in vessels, according to an investigation by The Swedish Club, a protection & indemnity marine insurer.

A key finding is that 55 percent of casualties occur within only 10 percent of the time between overhaul (TBO), which corresponds to the first 1,000 hours or so of operation after overhaul. In most cases the damage occurs only a few hours after start up, the report said.

The report, titled “Auxiliary Engine Damage,” also finds that container vessels have a significantly higher claims frequency due to the larger number of installed engines on these vessels.

In addition these engines have considerable output, which leads to higher repair costs compared with other vessels.

The Swedish Club’s report report was created in response to the club’s members’ concerns over damage to auxiliary engines – a significant segment of machinery claims, both in number and in cost.

“Auxiliary engines run at high revolutions and have a common lubrication system for both cylinder and crank case lubrication,” explained Peter Stålberg, senior technical adviser at The Swedish Club. “They are not under the same strict regime from the classification society as the main engine, and maintenance is often carried out by the vessel crew.”

He said that incorrect maintenance and wrongful repair are common in all too many cases. “[P]oor lubrication management is also a major contributing factor to auxiliary engine breakdowns,” Stålberg added. “With an average repair cost of more than US$345,000, we cannot emphasize enough the principle that prevention is better than cure.”

Auxiliary engines are not under the same strict regime from the classification society and maintenance is often carried out by the vessel crew.

The club said it frequently sees the following causes of damage:

  • Incorrect maintenance and repairs
  • Failure to adhere to repair procedures and use of incorrect tools
  • Crew lacking formal engine specific training
  • Inexperienced crew and no expert in attendance
  • Failure to detect contamination due to poor lubrication oil management
  • Not following up on results from lubrication oil sampling.

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