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Typical root causes for such incidents have been identified as:

  • Missing pipe brackets/supports on oil systems leading to increased vibrations and subsequent cracks or even breakage of the oil piping system.
  • Missing cup over the fuel injector valve.
  • Original insulation or screening of hot surfaces was not maintained correctly.
  • Original insulation or screening of hot surfaces was not sufficient for preventing oil spray onto hot surfaces.
  • Insulation soaked with oil caught fire when sufficiently heated up.
  • Oil leakages from engine components like exhaust valve indicators spraying onto the exhaust manifold.

It is recommended to enhance prevention and protection against such fires and that a proactive inspection and evaluation programme is incorporated as part of the ongoing planned maintenance schedule to ensure all piping systems and equipment is maintained corrected and that design is appropriate. Combined into this the use of a thermal imaging camera can have great benefits of identifying any areas where a hot spot is developing or has not been identified before.


Routines for this screening should include but not be limited to:


  • Mechanical inspection and maintenance of all the internal oil piping on machinery including external oil piping near to all equipment that can potentially leak onto hot surfaces.
  • Inspection and maintenance of all the original screening arrangements and insulation installed on equipment.
  • Inspection and maintenance of screening and insulation of external oil piping near to the machinery that can potentially leak onto hot surfaces.
  • Inspection and evaluation of actual piping design and screening/insulation design.
  • A screening template can be made for all equipment in the engine room identified as part of this process, and these completed templates will help record the lifecycle of the screening/insulation and give early indication of deterioration or damage in order to determine when replacement will be needed to maintain the original standard.

As guidance equipment which may need to be incorporated into the screening could include but not be limited to:


  • Main engines
  • Auxiliary engines
  • Emergency generators
  • Oil fired boilers and incinerators
  • Waste heat recovery units.



As IMCA informed, there was an unplanned deployment of a free fall lifeboat (FFB) on a vessel alongside, which no one noticed.  There were no witnesses to the incident, but a crew member noticed the boat in the water and investigation began.


The incident


A crew member saw the boat in the water and the investigation began. It was found that the release hook was still in the locked position and safety pin was in position.


Also, the master link in the hook was in good condition. It was not understood how it could have happened. The bow of the lifeboat was damaged, after a collision with a barge moored about 20m behind the vessel. The barge was not damaged.


There had been an inspection of the lifeboat earlier in the day but nothing was noticed.  The inspection team did not enter the lifeboat as the maintenance hook was disabled, but no unusual hook configuration was noticed.

The vessel had in recent days come out of dry dock, when there had been an annual inspection of the lifeboat by the manufacturer. That inspection had included a check & test of the boat and the hook. At the end of the docking period, the FFB was placed back on the vessel.  Thus, the vessel had a short (calm) sea voyage (1 day) to her next port.



Probable cause


Investigation showed no clear root cause or technical defects which might have contributed to the incident. The lifeboat was four years old and complied with all legislation and certification.


The only possible explanation is that the master link was not properly placed on the release hook, and gradually slipped out of the hook over time, IMCA reported.


Actions taken


  • Re-assessment and careful positioning of the master link when replacing the lifeboat;
  • Temporary downgrade of lifeboat safety certificate (fewer POB);
  • Assessment of risk for maintenance hook to be permanently on the lifeboat when the vessel was at sea. However, it was decided not to do so, as the risk following from a more complicated emergency procedure for the crew in emergency was considered too high;
  • The maintenance hook to be used always when in port, or during maintenance at sea.




As the issue of additive manufacturing or 3D printing is gaining ground in the marine industry, Braemar Managing Director – Asia, considers how 3D printing could be used both onshore and aboard to reduce delays relating to machinery breakdown.


What is 3D printing?


There are currently seven different additive manufacturing techniques referred to as 3D printing.


Material jetting is the most well-known manufacturing technique, where layers of plastic wire are melted on top of each other forming a 3D structure.


Powder-bed extrusion is the most interesting 3D printing technique for the marine industry, as this method can produce accurate and complex metal structures for spare parts.


What are the benefits?


Warehousing and shipping costs of spare parts for ships can be reduced by producing items on demand at any location. The parts can also be produced without the heavy scantlings previously created in the casting process and with efficient lightweight designs.


In a shipboard machinery breakdown scenario, delays can be reduced as replacement parts can be produced at the next port instead of being sent from the original equipment maker’s central warehouse. Small basic parts such as valves, pipe fittings or impellers could even potentially be made on board in the event of a failure.


Where are we now?


Engineers at Europe’s largest port – Rotterdam – are already exploring the use of additive manufacturing processes to quickly carry out repairs to damaged ships. The port has opened the Rotterdam Additive Manufacturing Lab (RAMLAB), an on-site facility that includes a pair of six-axis robotic arms, which is capable of additively manufacturing large metal industrial parts.


This enables RAMLAB to pursue faster fabrication options – 3D printing large ship components in metal and then finishing the pieces using traditional CNC milling and grinding methods within days. Recently, a tug propeller was made and successfully tested.

Additionally, this year, a Dutch crane manufacturer is reported to have printed a 3D offshore crane hook, which successfully passed its load test and all associated control checks.

Onboard production


Whilst the implementation of additive manufacturing on shore has a seemingly successful future, it is less likely that ship-borne 3D manufacturing will be as popular, especially for large components. A lot of components still require finishing by machine, thread-cutting or polishing, which are specialist skills.


Further, mechanical components used onboard are made from a wide variety of different alloys. To effectively implement shipborne 3D manufacturing, a similar range of materials would need to be kept on board, raising issues of degradation and space for storage in the correct controlled conditions.


Manufacturers and Class would still inevitably need to verify the quality of components, even if they are produced using OEM-approved programs and machines, as there is a risk that parts could be produced negligently.


The future


Despite these issues with onboard production, shoreside manufacturing is likely to be a reality soon, starting with Class-approved local workshops in strategic places to introduce this technology.

There are currently seven different additive manufacturing techniques referred to as 3D printing:


  • Material jetting
  • Powder-bed extrusion
  • Material extrusion
  • Binder jetting
  • Directed energy deposition
  • Vat photo-polymerisation
  • Sheet lamination.




In order to reduce the most of the harmful air emissions, the Norwegian Maritime Authority checks whether the ships comply with the current regulations regarding sulphur content in their fuels. In order to make their work more effective, Norway will now use drones, which will measure the sulphur content in the exhaust.


After several tests conducted earlier this year, it appears that drones can be an effective help in tackling sulphur emissions from shipping.


This is the result that chief engineer Svein Erik Enge of the Norwegian Maritime Authority found. This project is being carried out in cooperation with the Coast Guard.


During the tests, which took place at the beginning of June, the Norwegian Maritime Authority focused the drones into checking the exhaust emissions from several ships in the area.

The drones then provided details of the sulphur content on a computer screen on board. The highest concentration was measured on the Portuguese cruise ship ‘Astoria’ when it was heading into the port of Bergen.


According to the exercise, the drones will never be closer to the vessel than 50 meters. If the measurements of the drone show that the exhaust, and thus the fuel, has a sulphur content more than the legal 0.1%, the Coast Guard will notify one of the inspectors on land. The inspector will then go on board and carry out oversight the next time the ship arrives.

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