Quick action helps avoid vessel grounding

Quick and effective action in an urgent situation is often possible when the crew are thoroughly familiar with their ship. This was the lesson learned from a recent Mars Report in which a crew managed to avoid grounding by quickly responding to an engine failure.

The Mars reports are compiled (anonymously) by The Nautical Institute to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of what happened in this case:

A tanker had discharged cargo and was outbound under pilotage in a restricted waterway when an oil mist detector alarm for the main engine sounded. This caused the engine to shut down. The bridge team went into emergency status and made preparations to drop anchor.

While these preparations were in progress, the engine team checked the oil mist alarm system. It was found that the air feed flow into the oil mist detector was not operating according to specification. A loosened fixing nut on the air regulating valve was causing a false alarm.

The system air pressure was immediately increased to normal level, the fixing nut was tightened and the oil mist detector was re-set. The main engine was quickly restarted and the vessel was able to continue the voyage without suffering any negative consequences or needing to drop anchor.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202002, that are part of Report Number 327. A selection of this Report has also been published in SWZ|Maritime’s January issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.