Cracked fuel line results in an engine fire

We have received a report of the following incident, whereby a vessel’s fire detection system indicated fire in the engine room. Engine emergency shut down was initiated and all personnel proceeded to their relevant muster points. The fire alarm sounded and the local crew responded immediately to the fire. During this time, the mechanic had already shut down engine #1 and extinguished the fire, using the fire station’s 30kg CO₂ extinguisher. The fire was extinguished without causing further damage.

The subsequent investigation noted a hairline (2mm) crack in the fuel line from the left hand fuel manifold to cylinder #3. The fuel had come into contact with heat from the exhaust manifold, where it had ignited and caused the fire.

It was found that there was had been a lack of inspections and maintenance on this equipment. The investigation also revealed an inadequate design.

To address this problem the company instructed personnel to:

  • Examine the condition of all fuel lines daily;
  • Visually inspect clamp rubbers and general condition;
  • Check torque of connections and fuel line clamps;
  • Install double-coated fuel line on all engines.