UK P&I Club have published a report regarding power loss on board ships during manoeuvres. A reason for this should be the use of Low Sulphur Fuels according to their Risk Assessors.

It is interesting reading and could be a risk to count with.


SHIPS using costly, eco-friendly low sulphur fuel suddenly lose power and therefore control, causing accidents at times when manoeuvrability is most needed, said a Risk Focus bulletin from the marine insurer, UK P&I Club.

The UK Club’s risk assessors looked into 700 claims and found that main engine failures and blackouts tend to occur most regularly at the point in a voyage where the ship is at its most vulnerable.

Eco-friendly low-sulphur fuel has been mandated by the UN’s International Maritime Organisations and now enforced in the Baltic Sea and within 200 miles of the US and Canada.

The UK P&I Club bulletin reported that main engine failures or electrical blackouts now amount to seven per cent of its third party claims property damage.

“Many were enormously expensive and in some cases amounted to millions of dollars. Ships effectively out of control as a result of these problems have caused extensive damage to berths, locks, bridges, navigational marks, loading arms, cranes and gantries as well as moored ships,” the bulletin said.

“Costly collision and grounding claims can similarly be caused by these failures which highlights incidents in which ships encounter problems with the sudden loss of power during and after the switching to lower sulphur fuels that are now mandated in certain coastal regions,” the bulletin said.

“In confined waters or entering and leaving port, the stable loads, which will generally prevail with the ship on passage, are disturbed. There is additionally some evidence that compliance with the low sulphur fuel regulations and changing from one grade of fuel to another may have exacerbated these problems,” the insurer said.

“Reports from pilots, operating in emission control areas where fuel grade changes have been implemented, indicate that these problems have become quite widespread, noting that ships regularly seem to be experiencing power losses, invariably at critical times in their manoeuvres and which are attributed to ‘fuel problems,” the report said.


Risk Focus – Loss of Power

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