Troubleshooting and Immediate Actions for Engine Room Flooding

The term “engine room flooding” refers to the filling of the engine room space with water. Flooding in the engine room can compromise the ship’s watertight integrity. In this article, we will learn about the main causes of engine room flooding and what should be done in the event of engine room flooding.

Engine room flooding can occur for one of three reasons:

Equipment and system leakage.

Engine room flooding can occur as a result of a leak in the engine room space from machinery or a sea or fresh water system.

Leaks can occur from large sea water pumps, sea water or fresh water coolers, boiler feed water systems, and other sources.

Representation Image

A leak can also occur in any of the fresh or seawater pipelines, allowing a large amount of water to enter the engine room space. Leakage from any ballast water tank in the engine room’s double bottom, leakage from a manhole, or a crack in the water tank can all result in engine room flooding.

The piping for seawater or fresh water, as well as the engine room system, are massive in size and thus have a high potential for leakage.

Marine Repair and check ups must be taken in such situations:

  • Call for all available resources to deal with the situation.
  • The sooner you discover the problem, the better.
  • Start the other circulating system while isolating the leaking pump, pipe, cooler, and so on.
  • To stop the leak, close the inlet and outlet valves of the affected system.
  • Notify the chief engineer of the leak and follow his instructions.
  • Place a notice or placard indicating that there is a leak in the equipment or system, and trip the breaker until repairs are completed.
  • In the event of a tank leak, begin transferring excess content from that tank to another tank as soon as possible and try to keep it as small as possible.
  • The tank should not be used until a cement box, welding, or repair has been completed.
  •  Marine Repair and maintenance services must be sought immediately In the event that boiler-related problems arise.

If an overboard valve leaks:

  • If the leak is after the valve and the valve is holding shut the valve, if the system involved for that valve allows the ship to operate normally with the valve closed.
  • If the valve is not holding, locate the leak. It could be a leak from the valve stem gland or flange joint; try to repair it.
  • Put a blank in the valve if the system for that valve can be isolated without interfering with the ship’s normal operation.
  • If the repair is only temporary, call the divers when the ship arrives at the port to blank the valve opening from the outside and carry out the permanent repair.

Flooding caused by a hull crack or small hole:

  • In this case, as soon as you discover the leak, contact the nearest coastal state for assistance because if the leakage is significant, the ship’s stability will suffer.
  • The leakage must be minimised and, eventually, stopped.
  • If the leak is not large enough, a cement box should be placed in its place, and repairs should be made accordingly.
  • In the event of a leak caused by an accident such as a collision or grounding, there is little that can be done because the opening in the bulkhead is large and there is no chance of stopping the leak. In such cases, the captain must determine whether the ship is a safe place to stay or whether it must be abandoned.
  • If an abandon ship signal is issued, the crew should muster to their respective lifeboats and carry out the abandon ship operation.

If the water level ingress in the engine room is very high for any of the reasons listed above, open the emergency bilge ejector valve with the chief engineer’s permission and pump the water overboard.

The date, time, and position of the ship, as well as the reason for direct discharge, should be recorded in the Oil record book (ORB), along with the signatures of the officers involved in the operation, chief engineer, and master.