Human Error to Blame for ‘Majority’ of Auxiliary Engine Damage Claims -Marine Insurer

ship engine room
Photo: By donvictorio / Shutterstock

The majority of auxiliary engine damage occurring onboard ships happens as the result of human error, according to a new warning from the marine insurer The Swedish Club.

An investigation into auxiliary engine damage by The Swedish Club, one of the leading marine mutual insurance companies, revealed that the majority of all damage takes place immediately after maintenance work. A key finding is that 55% of casualties occur within only 10% of the time between overhaul (TBO), corresponding to the first 1,000 hours or so of operation after overhaul. In most cases the damage occurs only a few hours after start up.

The report also finds that container vessels have a significantly higher claims frequency due to the larger number of installed engines on these vessels. In addition these engines have considerable output, leading to higher repair costs compared with other vessels.

The latest report was created in response to Club member concerns over damage to auxiliary engines – a significant segment of machinery claims, both in number and in cost.

Peter Stålberg, Senior Technical Adviser at The Swedish Club explains: “Auxiliary engines run at high revolutions and have a common lubrication system for both cylinder and crank case lubrication. They are not under the same strict regime from the classification society as the main engine, and maintenance is often carried out by the vessel crew.

“We see incorrect maintenance and wrongful repair in all too many cases, and poor lubrication management is also a major contributing factor to auxiliary engine break downs. With an average repair cost of more than USD 345,000, we cannot emphasise enough the principle that prevention is better than cure.“

The Swedish Club’s Auxiliary Engine Damage report can be downloaded from The Swedish Club Media/Publications website.