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Monday, March 1, 2021 

The UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its report into a 2018 fire onboard a Lithuanian registered ro-ro cargo vessel, 'Finlandia Seaways', in which the vessels third engineer, who was on duty in the engine room at the time, suffered serious smoke-related lung, kidney and eye injuries.

The DFDS-operated ro-ro suffered a catastrophic main engine failure that caused serious structural damage to the engine and a fire in the engine room. The investigation identified that the engine failure and been initiated by the failure of a single component and found that the standard and management of maintenance carried out by the vessel operator’s maintenance support contractor was a significant causal factor.

The following safety Issues were identified:

  • the engine’s connecting rods had not been maintained in accordance with engine manufacturer’s instructions
  • 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, Class was not kept informed.
  • there were no emergency escape breathing devices on the secondary escape route used by the third engineer

MAIB has recommended that the engine designer, MAN Energy Solutions, and classification society, Lloyd’s Register, provide technical advice to DFDS on the actions the company should take to minimise the risk of a similar catastrophic engine failure, and any other vessel operators whose MAN engines might have been subjected to similar maintenance practices.

Further recommendations aimed at addressing the safety issues raised in this report have been made to the vessel operators, DFDS Seaways  Lithuania and its engine maintenance support contractor Diesel Service Group.

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