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OIL PRESSURE PROBLEMS LED TO 'VIKING SKY' POWER FAILURE, SAYS NMA

Friday, March 29, 2019  (Comments: 10)

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) has been working together with the 'Viking Sky's' classification society, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, and Viking Ocean Cruises in order to identify the reason why the ship suffered a power blackout in challenging weather conditions on 23 March.

NMA's initial conclusion is that the engine failure was directly caused by low oil pressure. The level of lubricating oil in the tanks was within set limits, however relatively low, when the vessel started to cross Hustadvika. The tanks were provided with level alarms, however these had not been triggered at this time. The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped. This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines.

The NMA says it has drawn up a general safety notice about ensuring a continuous supply of lubricating oil to engines and other critical systems in poor weather conditions. This should be done in cooperation with the engine supplier and, moreover, be included in the ship’s risk assessments in the safety management system.

NMA adds that it is in a continuous dialogue with the company and classification society, and will follow up the ongoing work to rectify damages on vessels. NMA will continue to work with the classification society, company and the Accident Investigation Board Norway in order to reveal underlying causes and identify appropriate measures.

NMA has granted Viking Ocean Cruises a permit to sail on a single voyage to Kristiansund to have the necessary repairs made.

Viking Ocean Cruises made the following statement: “We welcome the prompt and efficient investigation carried out by the NMA and we fully understand and acknowledge their findings. We have inspected the levels on all our sister ships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated. We will continue to work with our partners and the regulatory bodies in supporting them with the ongoing investigations.”

Reader Comments (10)

Well that all seems a bit airy fairy to me. Low LO pressure on all four engines at the same time? Not credible I'm afraid.

By David Pilgrim on Monday, April 1, 2019

Common lube oil system possibly?

By S. J. Perkins Marine on Monday, April 1, 2019

This appears to be a very fundamental fault and should have been foreseen, particularly in a passenger ship. In the past, the engineer on watch would have run some oil down to the tank as soon as the alarm sounds in adverse conditions. It appears that this particular vessel has large L.O tanks serving more than one engine.

By John Heffernan on Monday, April 1, 2019

Yes this does too simple an answer to what was a very serious incident and why such a huge delay in trying to restart the engines. Surely there would be a pre shutdown alarm indicating low tank level or flow with a time delay before a shutdown allowing time to remedy. And why all 4 engines at the same time. Has this vessel never encountered a heavy swell or rough sea before?? More questions top be asked and answered I am afraid.

By Martin Dunne on Monday, April 1, 2019

As suggested by others this is almost unbelievable. For all 4 engines to shut down at the same time it would suggest they all shared the same sump BUT the report says "tanks" implying this was not the case. Also we would not expect a reset, level fill and restart to take more than a short time even if emergency power had to be raised first. Operational routines also need explanation.

By E.R.Cowell on Monday, April 1, 2019

Being a retired Chief I couldn't agree more with the comments mada above. I firmly believe that there is more to this event than just that which has been given as an explanation. We have all made mistakes at some time in our career but I think at the end of the day just the plain truth is more helpful than an obvious cover up. Lets hear the real story!!

By Ray W Grant on Monday, April 1, 2019

When the Owners state that they are reviewing guidelines, it makes me wonder what they were prior to the failure. I understand that the engines are paired in a 'father and son' arrangement in two separate rooms for redundancy. I can only assume that the lube oil sumps are separate? I would have expected low level alarms but maybe the initiation levels were too low or, if active, that the delays were too long. With so much redundancy, it is surprising that all the engines tripped at the same time and that it took so long to restore the lube oil levels. Knowing that they could expect heavy weather, an experienced engineering staff should have reviewed operational liquid levels and topped up as necessary. I suspect that we have not heard the full story. I sailed as C/E on large container vessels for 21 years but have no cruise ship experience.

By John Peter Hunter on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I would expect each engine to have its own dedicated lub oil circulation tank. This is necessary to avoid cross-contamination of the other three engines' oil should one engine suffer problems. Furthermore, lub oil analyses would be meaningless if more than one engine is sharing the same oil. On the assumption then that each engine has a dedicated lub oil circulation tank, for all four engines to shut-down at more or less the same time would suggest that it was shipboard policy to run all four engines with minimum oil in circulation. That may be OK on a mill-pond, but certainly not in a seaway where heaving, pitching and rolling are part of life. Stabilizers - if fitted - do not reduce pitching, and in any event they too are not faultless. If operating UMS in bad weather - especially near the coast off a lee shore and a passenger ship - the seamanlike thing in my book would be to have a watchkeeper below keeping an eye on things, and not rely on low level alarms which, in this case, were obviously set at too low a level. The first thing that should come to an Engineer's mind when a vessel becomes lively in a seaway is the levels of fluids in tanks - particularly lub oil - and if necessary to run down a bit more from the storage tanks to increase the safely margin. Watchkeeping 101. All round a poor show and most un-seamanlike.

By Rob Young on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I believe the engines are MAN 9L32/44 and 12V32/44 gensets. Each with separate lube oil sump and an engine driven LO pump. If this is correct, there is no common system. MAN give the maximum dynamic heeling angle as 22.5 deg. and the maximum dynamic pitching angle as 7 deg. Boy it must have been rough.

By David Pilgrim on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The above comments are valid. However it should be borne in mind that the vessel is Diesel electric, thus there is the possibility that one or possibly more engines were under maintenance, it has not been stated that all four engines were available. If the vessel lost all main generating power which seems likely it would have taken a bit of time to restart the engines especially if the main lub oil pumps had lost suction. I also understand that a different vessel also lost all power in Malta in 2016 for some reason. Connection maybe?

By D. Robertson on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

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