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MAIB makes recommendations following passenger ferry engine room fire

MAIB makes recommendations following passenger ferry engine room fire
An engine room fire that caused significant damage aboard ro-ro ferry Pride of Canterbury was due to valve that had been untested in 23 years, a report by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has found.

After the vessels’ starboard controllable pitch propeller (CPP) system stopped responding to controls, the vessel’s engineer started the stand-by pump to maintain oil circulation, but an increase in pressure thanks to the jammed valve caused the pipework to burst and spray oil into the engine room, starting the fire.

MAIB concluded that the valve had not been tested for functionality in 23 years, and that “although the manufacturer’s manual specified the back pressure valve was to be tested annually, the manual did not specify how this was to be achieved.”

The findings have prompted Wärtsilä to issue a technical bulletin instructing that back pressure valves should be replaced after 15 years.

Meanwhile Lloyd’s Register (LR) was also implicated in the report. “While LR’s Rules and Regulations required a high temperature alarm and a low pressure alarm to be fitted in the controllable pitch propeller system, there was no requirement for a high pressure alarm,” the report read.

“LR is recommended to propose to IACS that a unified requirement regarding controllable pitch propeller alarm and safeguards is developed, that includes a hydraulic system high pressure alarm, in addition to the low pressure, high temperature and low supply tank level alarms already required under LR Rules and Regulations.”