MAJOR BREAK DOWN IN AN AUXILIARY ENGINE:


In one ship had only 2 diesel generators & turbo generator. One day one generator started emitting smoke & it was stopped. Opened the crankcase and found that unit 6 big end bearing and unit 4 main bearing, the white metal had started squeezing out. Crankshaft had deep scoring marks.

Workshop assistance was sought. Workshop after grinding the crankshaft and polishing, found crankshaft not suitable for running, as grinding had to be done more than the specified limits. Sailing continued with one generator and a new crankshaft was ordered. Maintenance of the available generator whenever required could be done only after doing black out. Meanwhile the broken down engine was stripped totally during the passage.

On arrival Canada, PSC visited the ship and carried out inspection. Everything else other than this engine breakdown was found ok. They questioned about the stripped engine. Canadian PSC pointed out the unsea worthiness due to non availability of power to start on any breakdown as per SOLAS requirements, hence Ship was detained.

Company arranged for spare generator to be placed on deck as a temporary measure till the crankshaft is received.. The Canadian authority were satisfied with the arrangement and the ship was allowed to sail.

Company /superintendent know about this SOLAS requirement, but were reluctant to provide a deck generator. But only when the ship got detained, they had no other go except to provide a standby one. When I joined another ship which also had this problem, deck generator were arranged soon.

The problem engine was repaired and put in to service. The same problem occured again after 6 months. On investigation found that hand glows was on the L.O. line which might have gone during the L.O. filter clearing.

Lesson Learnt :

Small mistake and negligence on the part of the engineer to check before boxing back will result in such disasters. This not only increases the overheads to the company but also affects the safety of the ship. Though the PSC inspections make the management to supply spare parts and to take care on the maintenance of the ship, it is imperative that our responsibility as engineers to do proper maintenance and upkeep of the machinery. Small negligence on checking before fitting had resulted in so many sleepless nights and persons becoming over tired.