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High potential: sea water inlet pipe leakage in engine room

What happened

Vessel crew noticed seawater ingress on a pipe very close to the inside of the hull. The leak was noticed whilst the vessel was offshore when engine crew were conducting routine weekly maintenance of the sea chest. While working on this, they noticed sea water leakage in the adjoining tank room from a condenser pipe of the AC system,  just a few centimetres length from the ship’s side just underneath the connecting valve flange. This pipe is always underwater and thus subjected to continuous hydrostatic pressure.

An alarm was raised, and situation was immediately bought to attention of all crew.

Deteriorated condition of sea suction pipe leading to leakage
Temporary repairs with a cement box to restrict water leakage

What went wrong

  • The vessel planned maintenance system had no documented general condition checks of such ship side valves and associated piping systems;
  • The affected pipes had last been inspected before the vessel´s 5 yearly renewal dry dock in 2020;
  • The pipe section was heavily corroded and could have resulted into more leakage with potential catastrophic results.
  • Corrective actions
  • Immediately a cement box was constructed around the pipe/valve, to contain the leakage;
  • The vessel went subsequently into emergency dry dock for permanent repairs.


  • Identify all such seawater ship-side valves and associated piping and ensure that a general condition check is added to the vessel´s planned maintenance system and conducted on a regular basis;
  • Carry out a thorough inspection and condition check of such pipes before intermediate & renewal dry dockings to analyze their health and anticipated longevity, and use such opportunities for renewal works to avoid emergency dockings.

Members may wish to refer to:

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