Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Maritime Propulsion

February 26, 2021

Finlandia Seaways Engine Fire Linked to Poor Maintenance

(Photo: MAIB)

Substandard maintenance was found to be a major contributing factor at the root of a 2018 engine room fire aboard the DFDS ro-ro vessel Finlandia Seaways in April 2018, U.K. accident investigators found.

The Lithuanian registered vessel was in transit from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Rosyth, U.K., when it suffered a catastrophic main engine failure that caused serious structural damage to the engine and a fire in the engine room. The vessel’s third engineer, who was on duty in the engine room at the time, suffered serious smoke-related lung, kidney and eye injuries during his escape.

According to a report by the U.K.'s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, the engine failure was initiated by the failure of a single component, and the standard and management of maintenance carried out by the vessel operator’s maintenance support contractor was a significant causal factor.

Investigators discovered the engine’s connecting rods had not been maintained in accordance with instructions from the engine’s manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions, and defects introduced during component overhauls had not been identified by the ship’s crew or the company’s technical superintendents. The significance of the damage caused to the connecting rod small ends during overhaul was not fully appreciated and although a class survey item, the classification society Lloyd’s Register was not kept informed. 

MAIB said a recommendation was made to MAN Energy Solutions and Lloyd’s Register to provide technical advice to DFDS on the actions the company should take to minimize the risk of a similar catastrophic engine failure, and any other vessel operators whose MAN engines might have been subjected to similar maintenance practices.

MAIB's report also reveled there were no emergency escape breathing devices on the secondary escape route used by the third engineer.

Further recommendations aimed at addressing the safety issues were made to the vessel operator DFDS Seaways AB-Lithuania and its engine maintenance support contractor Diesel Service Group (2021/103-105), MAIB said.