Reducing the risk of propulsion loss – new booklet guide

A new booklet has been released by international classification society Bureau Veritas, TMC Marine and the London P&I Club to coincide with London International Shipping Week 2017. The booklet provides operational guidance for preventing blackout and main engine failures. This is the second booklet in a series on loss prevention issues. The new publication focuses on the marine engineering issues and procedures related to loss of propulsion incidents and how to prevent them.

When blackouts, propulsion limitations, total loss of propulsion and loss of steerage capability occur during navigation in restricted areas such as traffic lanes, when entering or leaving port, or when a vessel is navigating close to a coast during heavy weather, risks to the vessel and personnel were severe and could result in a major casualty. The purpose of the new booklet was to provide general guidance and practical advice to marine engineers and ship owners on blackout and main engine failures, the risks associated with propulsion loss and the precautions that can be taken to prevent these risks, the publishers said.

They emphasized that the booklet was not intended to replace IMO regulations and guidance notes or documentation forming part of a vessel’s safety management system.

Jean-François Segrétain, Technical Director, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, said that “the industry is aware of the continued incidence of blackouts and propulsion loss. We consider it important that the industry has an easy to use, concise, guide to the risks involved and, importantly, the guidance on the risk management tools that can reduce the risk of propulsion loss. The expertise of class, P&I and TMC is a strong combination. We will continue to provide guidance to help reduce risk in marine operations.”

Carl Durow, Loss Prevention Manager, London P&I Club said that proper root cause analysis of loss of propulsion incidents regardless of severity was the key to risk mitigation. He noted that the Club had seen an increase in the number of machinery failure related cases in recent years. “This publication is aimed at raising awareness of the necessary good practices and post incident investigation activities, which in combination can result in a much reduced risk of significant claims. In the majority of cases it is the timing and location of the incident which dictates the severity of the claim.”

The booklet noted that insufficient or ineffective maintenance was to blame 29% of the time that propulsion loss occurred; human error accounted for 24%, while equipment failure also accounted for 24%. Fire accounted for 17% and “other” made up 6%. The first booklet in the series – Reducing the Risk of Liquefaction, was published in March 2017.