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Hundreds of engines affected in Wärtsilä efficiency testing scandal

Hundreds of engines affected in Wärtsilä efficiency testing scandal
Hundreds of installed Wärtsilä engines are affected by misreported fuel consumption figures, an internal audit has revealed.

A routine best-practice audit instigated in May 2015 found that test results of four-stroke marine engines built at the company’s factory in Trieste, Italy, were being deliberately fabricated in as many as 2% of cases, thanks to testing staff “taking shortcuts” in the words of chairman Mikhael Lilius.

“Based on our current analysis, the deviations have been caused by a limited number of personnel, who have clearly acted against work instructions and our code of conduct by influencing the test results,” said the company in a statement.

The company stressed that only four-stroke engines were affected, with an average deviation of 1% of fuel consumption. “There is no relation to emissions tests,” confirmed Lilius. The company said a couple of hundred engines were impacted.

Despite the deviations, affected engines fulfilled all regulatory and classification requirements, as well as sea trial requirements. Wärtsilä's record-breaking 31 engine, unveiled just after the audit begain, was not affected by the findings.

“We have changed our processes and how we audit them going forward,” said Lilius, despite the company saying audits were annual the discrepancies took place across several years. 

While Wärtsilä does have incentive schemes for its employees, the company maintained these had no bearing on the fraudulent test results.

"What is happening inside the group is not acceptable and we are taking appropriate action," Lilus said.

“We realise that this is a reputational issue and we will do everything to restore confidence to our stakeholders. “We have started to reach out to all of our customers, explaining what has happened and what the consequences are.”

"Wärtsilä requires all its employees to act in accordance with internal guidelines as well as laws and regulations. We deeply apologise for any loss in trust caused by this violation to our policies and corporate values, and we will immediately start reaching out to our customers", said president and ceo of Wärtsilä Jaakko Eskola.