Causes of E/R Flooding
Engine Room flooding is considered as an emergency situation in ships. When engine room floods, it is obvious that the propulsion will stop automatically if left unnoticed. In the advent of unmanned machinery spaces, it is highly important that the bilges and all alarm systems must function properly to give warnings when such emergencies happen. Many things may lead to engine room flooding starting from minor sea water pipe leakage to a hole in the ship's hull. The most common reasons for engine room flooding are,
1. Sea water pipe leakage, left unattended, becomes a large rupture, causing sudden outburst of sea water into the engine room.
2. Bilges left unattended, alarms reposed, and continuous leakage of water from pump glands etc.
3. Overboard valves (ship side valves) are at very bad rusted condition, thus giving way, causing rupture of pipeline and sea water entry.
4. Sea suction filters not being boxed up properly and opening of the valve after improper tightening, sometimes lifts away the top cover makes sea water to rush inside the engine room.
5. Boiler blow down valve, if rusted and in very bad condition, may lead to pipe rupture, (during blowdown), causing engine room to flood with boiler water as well as sea water.
6. When stern tube gland seals leak, sea water starts to come into the engine room.
7. During some maintenance, like plate type heat exchangers cleaning, accidental opening of the plates(with out knowing whether the valves hold or not), may definitely flood the engine room.
8. Sludge tanks/waste oil tanks overflow/ fuel oil overflow tank overflowing during bunkering etc all contribute to potential hazards of engine room flooding.
9. Rupturing of ship sides(hull) due to corrosion.
10. Grounding of ship (not electrical grounding) in shallow areas may cause buckling in the engine room area where sea water starts to enter the engine room directly or indirectly (hull gets ruptured in the way of bilge tank or any other tank causing it to overflow)
11. Collision of the ship with other ship or with berths/jetty in the way of engine room may cause flooding.
12. If the sounding pipe is not of self-closing or the cap is left open, and that particular tank gets filled up and left unnoticed, may lead to flooding of engine room.