Transport Malta has published its investigation report on the total loss of power of the bulk carrier MV Leopold LD following the failure of the auxiliary engines and the emergency generator while underway in March 2019. The investigation identified lack of crew familiarization with the correct operation of the compensation damping tank.
MV Leopold LD was en route from the port of Saldanha Bay, South Africa, to Hamburg, Germany, carrying iron ore. On 14 March 2019, the only running auxiliary engine of the vessel tripped and the emergency generator automatically cut in.
Attempts by the crew to restart the tripped auxiliary engine and to start the other auxiliary engines failed and on the next day, the emergency generator also stopped, resulting in a total loss of power.
The vessel was towed to Freetown, Sierra Leone. One auxiliary engine and the emergency generator had sustained extensive damages. It was also found that the fuel compensation damping tank was empty and that the drain valves of the diesel oil service tanks were blanked.
– The failure to start the A/E following the black related to an inadequately charged fuel oil compensation damping tank;
– The crew members were neither familiar with, nor aware of the correct operation of the compensation damping tank;
– The crew members accepted the risks involved with having two out of three generators out of service while only one was operating on full load;
– Time was lost due to a missed, open drain valve in the compressed air system;
– The condition of the Vee belts on the emergency generator was compromised with cracks in the material;
– Water was present in the fuel lines of A/E no. 1 and A/E no. 3;
– Water could not be drained from the fuel tanks because of blocked drains.
During the course of the safety investigation, the Company has taken the following safety actions:
– The SMS has been amended and the maintenance schedule for the radiator fan belt has been reduced to six months from the 12 month interval. The second engineer (Senior Engineer) is now assigned to this critical job;
A 14-day routine to drain the fuel and ensure build-up of 100% air cushion has been added in the vessel’s PMS and included in the ship-specific familiarization checklist.