Black Out on Ship, Recovery and Actions to be taken

Black Out on Ship is a common term which is used, when she loses all the power due to the failure of generators. Well  the reason of happening
such a event are many which we will discuss about them more latter. Since Ship always have its own power house to feed pumps, engine, lightings etc, failure of power will result in complete standstill condition of the ship. And now since most of the ships are fully automatic and electronically controlled, recovery from such an event is little easy as compare to previous times. Let’s read more about this stuff.

Black out on Ship

Read more about this event below:

What Blackout Means

Blackout is something nobody wants to have on their ship. Complete failure of power due to any kind of problem with the power generating equipment onboard i.e. generators, is called as blackout and the whole ship looks like more same as a house with no electricity.

Why Blackout Happens

Well the reasons can be lot. Generally, on most of the ships we have three generators; one is main, one standby and one for any type of maintenance being carried out on it. Following could be the reason of Blackout happening:
1)    Generator Malfunction: If any type of problems occurs in machine like fuel pump failure, lube oil pressure loss, it will stop. Although we have a Power Management System on ships, which facilitates stating of another generator who is on standby, time difference in taking load will cause the blackout.
2)    Overload on Air Circuit Breaker: If sudden power is drawn from the generator like starting of heavy pumps and if the power drawn exceeds the power given by the generator, a complete power loss will take place.
3)    Fire in Electrical Panel: One of the most dangerous things to happen. Any fire in the main switchboard due to circuit or anything will result in power loss.
4) During Change of Filters: While changing over from one filter to another, if the process is not smooth, will result in loss of fuel for the machinery, and it will stop.

What to Do in Case of Blackout

First thing is to not to panic while such an event occurs on the ship.
For Bridge: As soon as blackout happens, the engine telegraph lever needs to be put on Stop and position of the vessel needs to be recorded and time also, master must be informed for the same. Proper lookout needs to be there, to keep an eye on other ships, if there is any.
For Engine Room
1)    Attend all the alarms and try to get power back, by running the standby generator.
2)    Chief Engineer should be called and be informed about the situation
3)    If Ship was using exhaust gas boiler, auxiliary boiler needs to be started.
If Ship is UMS type, sequential starting of necessary equipment will take place like first fuel oil pumps, steering gear power restored. Below diagrams show the sequential start for a specific ship:
Black Out
Vessel Operator should be informed about the situation and if involves any malfunction of a machinery part, needs to be told that also.
Emergency Generator is also fitted in case none of the generator is available for the power. As per the rules and regulations it should be able to come to load within 45 seconds of power loss and also should be able to run 18 hours continuous. But emergency generator is not there for supply power to all the equipments. It will just supply power to those machinery and equipments that are necessary and has a critical importance. Some of the machineries that are fed through the emergency generator are:
ü  Emergency Transformer
ü  Local Fire Fighting Main Panel
ü  Fire Detection System Control Cabinet
ü  Navigational Light Ind. Panel
ü  E/R Control Console
ü  Smoke Detection System
ü  Emergency D/G Room Lighting
ü  UPS for CO2 Release Alarm System
ü  Public Address Main Unit
ü  Bridge Control Console
ü  Battery Charger & Distribution Board
ü  M/E Control System Power Supply Unit
ü  Battery Charger for Rescue Boat
ü  No.2 Steering Gear
ü  Emergency Fire Pump
ü  Emergency Fire Pump Room Fan
ü  Local Fire Fighting
ü  Main Air Compressor
ü  Breathing Air Compressor etc

How we can Avoid Black Out Situation

Well on every ship engineers try to make sure that none of the situation occurs, but sometimes there are some factors that are not in to the hands of human being. But during the maneuvering operations, it is always good practice to run two generators together. So in any case if one goes down, other can take load. If a vessel has a history of blackout happening from a certain cases, immediate consideration should be taken about it and prior readiness for the same needs to made sure.
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Ashish S

Hi there! Well I am not a writer, just writes what can help people-that's it. Interested in listening from you. Loves to talk about gadget, music, nerdy stuff and witty substance in the talks. A Good respect in heart- for web.

2 thoughts on “Black Out on Ship, Recovery and Actions to be taken

  • August 18, 2014 at 5:16 am

    thanks a lot .very helpful

  • October 9, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Yes .it’s really useful for mariners those actually like to work on ship.


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