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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Was it a fuel(water in the fuel), cooling or an electrical problem that blacked her out.

Being multi engined it would have to be a common fault and most systems there is redundancy, particularly on a cruise ship.

The copter pilots did sterling service in those conditions.

Did anybody see the video in the piano lounge, nothing screwed to the deck but the piano, though I wonder about that despite the sockets its feet were in.
One passenger nearly got decapitated with deckhead steel panels dropping down.
Why did they not evacuate that space.
Not many lifeboats these days ( back to Titanic ) on cruise ships, just life rafts, that work ok on a millpond, but not in seas like that, just because everybody wants a balcony without a restricted view. Perhaps they would change there minds if they had to have abandoned ship.
And whose idea was it to replace lifeboats with liferafts? The shareholders eventually because they can charge more for those cabins, so more profit. Titanic again. And what's Class and the Regultory Bodies doing about it? It's going to need another Titanic disaster for a change of rules. Don't they ever learn.
A New Zealand organisation worked out there are roughly 2 cruise ships lost ( sunk or fire) each year.

You are better carrying a cargo of frozen mutton than human cargo.
 

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All very strange really.

In 2010 new regulations (called the Safe return to Port Regs = SRtP) were invoked stating all pax vessels over 120 metres had to have built-in redundancy such that any engine failure could only last for 1 hour maximum. This is why many passenger ships are now multi-engine, and with segregated engine rooms so if one gets flooded, propulsion & generator power would still be available from the other engine room. QE2 was designed like this when she was re-engined, with each E.R. supposedly being totally independent from the other. So, why, with a ship built in only 2017, did this vessel not find itself able to fulfil the regulation requirements? A lot of questions are going to be asked.

Cheers,

Skilly
 

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Yes strange, I never was on board a ship that was forced to stop at sea until I sailed on a "modern" ship, old steamers just seemed to keep going despite wear and no automation. How much do modern electronics cause engine shut downs?
Jock(Smoke)
 

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Jock,

You are correct. Having been at sea from 1969 until 2017, I have seen the insidious, never-ending creep of so-called 'Enhanced electronics' into ship's machinery spaces & cargo pump rooms more & more. The greater the 'Enhanced electronics' in the ship, the more stoppages we would have.

One vessel I was on had a total main engine shutdown in rough weather, and a relay failure prevented the aux gen'r from doing an auto-start and jumping on the board. The failure of the main engines was due to a wire dropping out of a terminal rail on the main propulsion gearbox. During the build, an electrician had (probably by good luck rather than good management) managed to insert the 19 wires into the correct position on the terminal rail, but then had omitted to tighten the screws to retain the wires. Rough weather eventually caused the weight of the bundled wiring loom to pull the first wire out. Just so happened this was the wire to the man engine shutdown panels - it's job was to initiate the shutdown sequence if the propulsion gearbox oil pressure dropped below 2 Bar. One way of doing a function test I guess, but the situation & location wasn't good when it happened. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with either main engine or the propulsion gearbox!

For complexity, & frustrating shutdowns, a so-called modern diesel-electric anchor handler (built 2013 from memory) was the worst I had to deal with. It generated power in AC from 3 x DGs. For the propulsion system & thrusters, the AC power was converted to DC (for 6 propulsion motors on 3 shafts, plus 2 thrusters, and 2 x Fifi pump motors) using silicone controlled rectifiers. So the AC was converted to DC using solely electronics, and the SCR cabinets got very warm, so needed continual cooling air flow to maintain operation. Then, if it rained (as it does frequently in the tropics!), the cooling air flow moisture detectors would promptly shut the propulsion down! After numerous dangerous situations, I finally convinced the owners that I needed to cut the detector wires! Every time we had a shutdown, the machinery was actually Ok - it was always the electronics causing the problems.

Give me a simple twin-screw direct drive installation any day.

Skilly
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also in our day you had real Engineers that knew what they were doing , not push button and mouse experts with Bamboo Tickets ( or worse).

We kept a proper watch, listen, touch , smell , look continuously. Not relying on some computer programmer to flash some light or alarm to tell you something was wrong. And then a spurious alarm comes up with a silly temperature on and you don't know how to check to see if it is correct, as i experienced with one 3rd Engineer with his 2nds on a UMS ER, not quite as fancy as they are today.

You cannot beat a good pressure gauge that you can give a tap with your shifter , to make sure its not stuck, never mind all these graphical things they have now that you have to reboot.

The electrical propulsion systems, generating at 6.6kv and other fancy gear they have is well beyond your average Engineer and perhaps some Chief Leckies I have sailed with, a couple of which would cure an alarm with a pair of side cutters. Snip, Snip. " That alarm won't go off again", they said.
 

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I admit we have a problem with smell, sight and hearing but not monitoring any other parameter for which a sensor is included. The ancient GEC Logger at Saudi Shield, Decca crIsis, Hokushin and Siemens (Datazent) could all monitor the entire field of sensors in the time it takes for the duty man to fill the kettle. Analogue system and later digital system were as near as damnit continuously monitoring every sensor.

Sometimes it is necessary to defeat a single sensor of channel but the usual stance of a failed Leckie is to first say "there is nothing wrong with it". It is less work. I hate to think what would happen to a 'modern' (which may very well be a damning description) should one of that ilk be loose with or without snippers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just been talking to a couple we know socialy that had just flown back from Norway and the Viking Sky and that eventfull cruise.
They said they'd had a good cruise and seen several Aurora Borialis until the weather turned. The Captain had taken them on the inland passage to avoid the worst of the storm, but then they had the power failure.
Emergency Gen came on and they were able to drop the anchors , then they got one of the main engines running , using that to prevent any drifting, being close to a lee shore with a North Westerly blowing.
This couple were fortunate to be winched away. They could not praise the captain enough and the staff , keeping them informed of what was going on.
The emergency services such as the helicopters and Red Cross that met them ashore at a sports hall, were there with blankets , hot drinks and food. When the ship got alongside the bussed them back to the ship to pack then they chartered flights to repatriate them. The owner of the company managed to arrive before they left to address them apologising, but will refund the whole cruise and they are allowed a free cruise at another time. Obviously the next cruise was cancelled until they can find the cause of the failure and repair it , also put the ship back to rights as most cabins were damaged with furniture flying about the place.
I did ask if the saloon chairs were screwed to the deck? No they weren't.
It was fortunate they were close enough to land for helicopter service, but what happens when they have to abandon ship in heavy weather say due to a fire, into liferafts. It doesn't bare thinking about, especially with these 5000 passenger ships, plus crew.
 

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I couldn't agree more with your last sentence regarding abandoning ship in heavy weather with 5,000 passengers. It's a tragedy waiting to happen. Had the Costa Concordia not drifted back ashore and she'd capsized offshore the death loss would have been enormous.
During my long piloting career on many different ships of various ages, I found that the two most dangerous times in a ship's life are when they're brand new and when they're at the end of their lives and everything is worn out. With the advancement of automation aboard ships, I would think that it's become even worse on new buildings.
 

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My worst fear is fire. I'm not worried about firefighting on board. That is fine. What I see is a major fire caused by collision as with a tanker. We say what happened with the ship last year in the China Sea. Collision between a passenger ship and a tanker and we have another ROYSTON GRANGE.
 

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. . . . . . . .
Chief Leckies I have sailed with, a couple of which would cure an alarm with a pair of side cutters. Snip, Snip. " That alarm won't go off again", they said.
It appears that the two B737 Max aircraft which were recently lost was probably due to a false indication of excessive pitch angle (alpha) causing the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to apply nose-down trim.
 

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Well, I have to commend the investigation results - they haven't tried to hide the cause. Low Oil Pressure!

With the heavy rolling, and the engine oil tanks apparently not containing enough oil, the engines shut down on low oil pressure protection when the oil pumps sucked air!

I guess when you have cruise ships that always attempt to avoid rough weather for the benefit of the walking cargo, it also means when you do finally get exposed to a bit of 'Ruffers', you are going to learn something new about your ship's systems!

On every vessel I have ever worked on, there was always the possibility of getting into rough weather, so all oil sumps/sump tanks were always maintained at the FULL or max level for this very reason. It always meant you had a bit of leeway in the event of a purifier failure or cooler leakage problem.

Skilly
 

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As an ex-RO/ETO, and someone who is still very heavily involved in shipbuilding, I have to agree with David Varley. It would appear that in this instance, the problem was caused by 'operator error, in that the LO service tank levels were too low and the automation did exactly what it was designed to do - shut the engines down to prevent permanent damage.
 

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Every engine has a sump low level alarm that activates well before any engine shut down.
It does not matter if the sump is wet or dry there is still an alarm either in the sump or in the holding tank.
Prudent Chiefs run just above this alarm so that if loss does happen then staff are alerted before too much oil is lost.
There is then an engine slow down in the event of low oil pressure before an engine shut down.
It seems astonishing that all four engine lost oil pressure due to insufficient levels of lubricating oil and then it took an incredible amount of time to diagnose this and run some oil into the sump, prior to restarting the engines.
I think there is more to this than they are saying.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Skilly,

Good info .
The passengers I talked to last night said that all the Viking Ships ( perhaps of that class) suffered from engine problems, so that would account for it.
So if its a class problem and the engineers kept the sumps at the full mark, then its a design problem , not ships staff.
Don't designers realise ships get into storms and rough weather and can heel over to 30 -45 °, military ships do it normally on wet grass, yet their equipment is tested for that.
Here we are talking large generators not 2 strokes. I remember when we used to take heavy rolls on two strokes, the LO alarm used to go off but the delay was such that it never got to the point of the shut down stage, the ship would right itself and normal oil oressure would be resumed until the next time. There would have been a greater surface area in a DB sump than in a generator sump. I was on one ship that had a Main Engine the same as they re-engined the QE2 with, MAN 45/78L if memory serves and even on that in heavy rolls the delay was such the engine did not shut down. And cargo ships don't have stabilisers only bilge keels.

So these cruise ships with a large sail area of the accomodation could soon be pushed over with the wind abaft the beam , being shallow drafted as compared to a Cruise Liner, ie the Queens.

Perhaps dry sumps are the answer with header tank and sump scavenge pump.
Even the "Posiedon Adventure " could not have happened technically in real life.
No doubt the rolls would be even worse once the power went off to the stabilisers unless they acted in a passive mode.
 

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Skilly,

Adventure " could not have happened technically in real life.
No doubt the rolls would be even worse once the power went off to the stabilisers unless they acted in a passive mode.

Stabilizer will not be put out until you have enough keel clearance to reply. Might be those few minutes between getting out of the way the rocks and getting enough clearance. Some years ago one of the HAL ships was arriving for Melbourne. The ship was rolling and the master decided to retract the stabilizers in calmer water. As te ship swept into the channel she rolled and the stabilizer smacked the bottom. Write off.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
More good points Brian, though an engine slow down on a DA would knock it off the board. I am assuming all new cruise ships are diesel electric, otherwise in a conventional set up they might still have had lights but no propulsive power, but believe it was just emergency lighting.

So yes there is more to this problem. Perhaps too technical to give to the press and perhaps there is a claim against the designers/ engine manufacturers. Would it not be called ' sub judice ' so they cannot give out tòo much information and allow the press to become judge and jury before it goes to court.
Viking treated the passengers correctly, now they have to fight the shipyard. Also a case of force majeure which they are insured against.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Seems like its not a Viking problem, but a cruise ship problem, see article below.

https://www.cruiselawnews.com/2016/.../viking-sea-temporarily-loses-power-in-malta/

I see she was Italian built and Italian cars were always a bit tempermental.

Is it a case of systems that are so complicated these days that ships staff are not trained to handle it. But sump and tank levels are basic engineering. But I see they are correcting that on all their fleet.
So for the sake of a few gallons of oil they could have lost the ship.
I noticed she was almost beached from one image.

But put a computer into any mix and you can expect problems.

Rebooting was when you changed your footware to or from flip flops in the ER
changing room.
Logged off and blacked out.

My friends said last night they are not going on any more cruises after that. And Viking is one of the better companies, so imagine if it had been one of the iffy outfits.
 

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Hugh, I am not sure I was damning anyone, certainly not the ship's staff. I doubt a modern vessel is subject to the sort of unofficial operating techniques as overfilling sump or sump tanks. SOLAS requires safe operation of essential machinery while rolling 22.5 degrees and pitching 7.5 degrees. Presumably she wasn't doing this until after she lost way.

It would be virtually impossible to divorce the effect of rolling from two otherwise independent systems on the same platform. Equally testing such a requirement at several different frequencies, rather than amplitudes, of roll would seem difficult and perhaps pointless without the frequency being taken into account. But that still requires the ship moving in 'sympathy' with sloshings about to have been present before the propulsion was lost.

Determination of the effect of any particular failure mode is easy but complication (which some miscall sophistication) makes the number of possible modes difficult to recognise and so may never be tested/analysed.

Such faults, fatal or otherwise, may never surface the cir***stances causing them being so rare. Others are discovered early in the vessels life and so resolved early. If the passengers (#15) reported that a similar event, perhaps in calmer seas and so less newsworthy, had occurred I wonder if it/they had been properly analysed. It is easy not to ("Oh, that's it, all's well now" and it wasn't and it isn't. It is also easy to assess a fault as so unlikely to repeat that nothing is done to prevent it.

Anyway, all glorious arm chair speculation at the moment. I do hope we get to see if any of us got it right.
 

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Brian (post #14 ),

In NZ, W.A., & Tasman sea operations I have been involved in, if you run your oil levels just above the low level alarm, you are very soon going to get tired of answering the callouts when the ship gets to rolling 30 - 45 degrees in rough weather when in ballast condition or not steadied up by a heavy tow. Most ships I have been on, even when rolling heavily, the low level alarm is still above the oil level where an engine shutdown will be experienced from low oil pressure. I cannot figure out why, once (or, IF) the low level alarms went off, these guys didn't have enough time to bring up the oil tank levels before engine shutdown occurred?

Most tanks have an indicator showing the minimum oil level (where the alarm will go off), and the maximum operating oil level, at which we would normally maintain the oil level in order to avoid alarms in very rough weather. Only on one ship in about 17 have I found tank level indicators showing the low level only - we soon worked out where we needed the operating levels to be marked, added the extra oil, and she's had no problems since.

Cheers,
Skilly
 
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