Technical Articles

Enhanced Engine Room Inspections

Posted on Monday, 13 May 2024

By Dr Darren Holling

With the United States of America’s Coast Guard, and the People’s Republic of China’s Maritime Safety Administration, both highlighting enhanced inspections of engine rooms following the MV DALI bridge incident in Baltimore on 26 March 2024, it should not be forgotten that some aspects of fire safety can be rapidly detected by employing thermal imaging cameras during engine room inspections (Figures 1 and 2).  Many engine room fires have started through leaks of fuel oil, and other combustible fluids, that were subsequently ignited by high temperature surfaces following contact.  SOLAS requirements for there to be protection of high temperature surfaces attaining upwards of 220oC can be quickly and easily identified by using thermal imaging cameras at operating machinery, and the situation remedied for compliance {SOLAS 11-2, Part B, Regulation 4, – “Surfaces above 220oC which may be impinged on as a result of a fuel system failure shall be properly insulated.”}.  


Figure 1: Showing exhaust system of an auxiliary engine.



Figure 2: Close-up view of the exhaust where insulation was missing.