DIFFICULTIES WITH LUBE OIL SYSTEM
1st Aug 05
On a suezmax tanker while loading cargo, the chief engineer informed the captain that two of the stuffing boxes due to excessive drain oil would have to be overhauled during the forthcoming voyage. Understandably, the Captain advised C/E to overhaul the stuffing boxes during loading in order to avoid any stoppage during the voyage.
C/E informed 2nd time @ 10.30 hrs and the work was started immediately. By the time overhaul of one stuffing box was finished it was 1700 hrs. C/E instructed 2nd engineer not to open the second one as the ship was scheduled to sail out around 2000 hrs. But the 2nd engr on the verge of getting promoted, insisted on finishing the second one faster and the job was finished around 20.30 hrs M/E plant was made ready and C/E noticed that the main L.O filter differential was very high, during his pre-departure E/R rounds. C/E tried to backflush and summoned for more help as the L.O. filter differential was not coming down below normal. In the mean time captain asked for engines tests. The Engine was tried out & kept on "STANDBY". In the meantime continuous back-flushing was being carried out in order to get off the SBM and it was planned to clean the filters after sailing out to a safe distance.
Engine's first movement Dead Slow Astern was given and after well clear off SBM, Dead Slow Ahead was given, but the engine did not respond due to high L.O. filter differential. Tugs were called for assistance in order to avoid grounding of the vessel. In the meantime filters were cleaned manually and the vessel sailed out.
Investigations revealed that the back flushing oil line filter was not drained for a long time and during overload of stuffing box from inside engine all the muck was thrown in to the crankcase which lead to the instant choking of lube oil filters.