Commercial Vessel Compliance

3/11/2015: Safety alert – Engine room operations

The Coast Guard issued Marine Safety Alert 4-15 regarding engine room operations, the maintenance of machinery, escape routes and the importance of conducting thorough engineering watches.

Recently an engine room fire occurred onboard an older cruise ship while it was at berth. A fuel oil spray under pressure developed from an operating engine’s fuel supply line when a bolted flange parted. The fuel spray ignited when it contacted the engine’s exhaust piping or turbocharger components. The vessel’s fine mist extinguishing system automatically activated and performed as designed extinguishing the primary fire. Fuel pumps and shutoff valves were also secured. However, the short-duration fire also ignited cable bundles, quickly filling the machinery space with smoke. As a result, one crewmember and two technicians were unable to egress and perished in the engine room.

View the safety alert for full details to include Coast Guard recommendations and information regarding the ongoing investigation.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.