Incident Information on Engine Room Flooding

This incident information refer to an engine room flooding which occurred on board a ship during preparation for cleaning of a sea water inlet filter. Cleats on the filter were released and immediately seawater flooded through the filter.

2013.07.19 - Incident Information on Engine Room Flooding Figure 1

40 minutes after the filter was opened, the engine room, steering-gear compartment and accommodation had become flooded resulting in a significant list to the port side and extensive equipment damage. The ship’s sea water inlet filter, valve and piping system in the engine room is depicted in the following photo.

2013.07.19 - Incident Information on Engine Room Flooding Figure 2

Testing proved proper function of the valves on both sides of the sea water inlet filter. Indication for valve position was visible and correct. The flooding seemed to be a result of insufficient closed valves prior to opening of the filter. The reason for this incident seems to be related to improper planning, procedures and/or adherence to the procedures.

Such incidents outline the following:

  • The position of the valves on each side of the sea water inlet filter is crucial. Always ensure closed valves prior to opening of the filter. If an interruption has occurred, re-check the position of the valves prior to recommencing the work.
  • Remotely operated valves must be secured against unintentional operation, before commencing removal of the filter cover.
  • The procedure for removing or re-tightening the filter cover is important. If cleats are removed from cover hinges in an unplanned sequence, the operator may loose the possibility of re-tightening the cover. Cleats should remain in position until it is safe to remove the cover. Cross loosen cleats while they rest in hinges. When tightening cleats, follow the same procedure in order to avoid cover being tightened incorrectly.
  • When cleaning of the filter is completed and cleats are tightened, carefully open valves on each side and check normal operation.

It should be noted that the risk of misunderstandings can be significantly reduced if filter cleaning is completed by the same person and preferably without any interruptions during work.

Source: DNV

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