In its most recent Safety Digest, UK MAIB reports an incident where smoke and a small fre appeared from the starter motor and surrounding area.
A vessel’s number 2 diesel generator was experiencing starting difficulties. After conducting some tests, the chief engineer decided to remove the starter motor and send it ashore for an overhaul.
During the period the starter motor was being overhauled, the vessel remained alongside and a crew change occurred, which included the arrival of the relief chief engineer. The ofgoing chief engineer referred to the removal of the starter motor in general terms in his handover notes.
On return of the overhauled starter motor to the vessel, the relief chief engineer carried out the re-installation, and connected the power cables to the positive and negative terminals of the starter motor. As the generator was started, smoke and a small fre appeared from the starter motor and surrounding area.
A subsequent examination of the heat damaged starter motor and cabling identifed that the electrical wiring had been incorrectly connected. On that particular engine model, some of the positive side cabling was coloured black instead of the more usual red. This had not been mentioned in the handover notes or noticed during the
- Damage sustained to machinery after repair or overhaul can be due to poor communications, such as where the reinstallation is carried out by a diferent person to the one who disassembled the piece of machinery. It is very easy to assume that your opposite number understands what is involved and what the correct re-build process is. But what if they do not? If you are unable to discuss the reassembly in person, ensure detailed notes, photographs and references to the manufacturer’s manual are provided. This will potentially save costly embarrassment or, worse, a major fire or other disaster.
- Arriving on board to fnd a pile of parts from your opposite number and limited handover notes, it may be tempting to quickly pick up the spanners and get on with reassembly. Does the beneft of putting something back together quickly outweigh the potential for a catastrophic failure if it is assembled incorrectly? Time spent on reading instructions or getting assistance could be time well spent.