MAR 1122 Intro to Marine Engineering:Suffering an Electrical Failure


As a marine engineer working for a ship owner you have been called to investigate into the reasons for one of the company’s vessels suffering an electrical failure.

The bulk carrier was manoeuvring into the port of Antwerp when it lost power as the switchboard breaker for No 3 generator tripped out suddenly and then the other running generator (No 2) was also disconnected due to an overload. Power was restored quickly but the Anchor had to be used in an emergency to bring the vessel to a halt.

You will need to travel to meet the ship from your office in central London but Captain has already reported that the ship does not appear to have suffered any damage to its structure.

The Chief Engineer has however reported that the generator running at the time has been checked, runs OK but will not now connect to the main electrical switchboard, leaving the ship short of electrical power for the next part of their journey.

Upon your arrival you uncover further issues that lead to the root cause of the electrical failure, when you discover in the log book that the switchboard “preferential tripping” system had not been tested for the past three months.

Discussion with the engineers has also identified that the essential tripping did not operate quickly enough, in reducing the electrical load on the single remaining generator. As a consequence, this engine stopped due to its overloaded condition causing the power failure. Answering the assignment


Your answer should be in two parts with the first part giving a critical analysis about your preparation for and proposed sequence of actions to be taken during the investigation of this incident.

The second part should consist of a professional style report complied for your senior managers commenting upon the:

  • Root cause or causes of the failure of the generator and why the power generation system did not work, in the way that it was designed to
  • Likely components, that will need replacing, on the switchboard
  • The extent of the disruption to the operation of the vessel while the repairs are completed
  • Sequencing of the work required
  • H&S issues to be followed and who will supervise the work

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