HIDDEN DANGER

This engine is one of three which drive hydraulic pumps installed side-by-side in a pump room on an oil tanker.

Several years earlier, on a sister ship, a hydraulic hose had burst and sprayed oil onto the engine causing a fire while the vessel was pumping cargo ashore. In response other vessels of the class were fitted with bulkheads to seal off the pumps from the engines and other surrounding machinery. What they hadn’t considered was that if two adjacent pumps were running and a fuel leak developed on one of the engines it could spray onto the hot exhaust of its neighbour.

When a thermal imaging survey revealed exposed engine exhaust trunking well in excess of the maximum 220°C imposed by SOLAS ‘hot surface’ limits the owner installed curtains between the engines as part of enhanced measures taken to reduce the opportunity for any such fuel leak to ignite.

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