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MSC Lirica on fire - Corfu


john_galt
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17 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Very likely they were test running the lifeboat engines, and this one caught on fire.  The lifeboat engines, by design get very little use, so they frequently pump some oil through the engine and into the exhaust pipe, where it collects.  These are typically flexible accordion type stainless steel hoses, so they can run along the bottom of the boat.  The oil collects in the low point, and when the engine is run long enough for the exhaust gas to get really hot, the oil will light off, superheating the exhaust pipe, and catching anything nearby on fire.  I suspect a couple of engineers were going along the entire starboard side, starting all the boat engines, and letting them run while they went to the next, etc.  One of the boats they started a while back, caught fire.  It is a moderately common fault of boats that are not maintained in top condition, or that have been left for a while, like when a ship is in lay-up.

Thank you for your experienced insight. I've found out that sometimes, unearned creedence is given here to the opinion of someone who just saw something on Reddit.  Your credibility is unique on CC in that regard. I do not post here on topics related to my career.

You never see used lifeboats/tenders on the used market or docked at the marina.  I have thought it would be so cool to turn a used one into a party boat/harbor tours. Figured there must be a reason.

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Lifeboats are designed to do one thing: get people away from the ship as quickly and easily as possible, once.  Everything else is gravy.  Retrieving lifeboats is one of the most dangerous jobs seafarers do.  The mechanisms that allow the boat to leave quickly and easily, make getting it back that much harder.  In addition, the boat and it's engine are really designed to keep the boat in one place, not take you to shore.  The ship transmitted its last location prior to abandoning, so that is where the search will start, so that is where the boats should remain.  The engine only has 24 hours of fuel.

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7 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Lifeboats are designed to do one thing: get people away from the ship as quickly and easily as possible, once.  Everything else is gravy.  Retrieving lifeboats is one of the most dangerous jobs seafarers do.  The mechanisms that allow the boat to leave quickly and easily, make getting it back that much harder.  In addition, the boat and it's engine are really designed to keep the boat in one place, not take you to shore.  The ship transmitted its last location prior to abandoning, so that is where the search will start, so that is where the boats should remain.  The engine only has 24 hours of fuel.

We had a pelican hook blow out once and left the boat dangling by only one cable. Fortunately the ship was alongside and no-one was on it. 

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56 minutes ago, GregD said:

We had a pelican hook blow out once and left the boat dangling by only one cable. Fortunately the ship was alongside and no-one was on it. 

Especially with cruise ship lifeboats, that have "off-load release", it is very difficult to get both blocks into the release gear at the same time in anything but flat calm, and the crew risk getting hit with the several hundred pound block, or losing a finger in the release hook.  The type of failure that you mention is why there are no actual drills with passengers loaded in the boat (that I've seen suggested here on CC), or why you raise or lower the boat with minimum personnel onboard.  I've seen several accidents that resulted in serious injury and disability from lifeboat exercises.

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On 3/13/2021 at 10:59 AM, chengkp75 said:

Yes, they are water cooled engines, but fresh water cooled.  No one, except pleasure boat owners want "raw water" (fresh, sea, or brackish) as the engine cooling medium, so they use an intermediary fresh water system, just like the big engines on the ship.  This fresh water loop is routed to a "keel cooler" that is then cooled by the sea water.  However, the exhaust pipes are not the typical "wet type" exhausts found on inboard pleasure boats, as this is subject to too much corrosion.  This is where the fire likely started, in the insulated, but not water cooled exhaust pipe.  For short periods, the keel cooler can be cooled adequately by the air.

Very interesting. Why not stainless steel exhaust system with a heat exchanger for the engine.

Fresh water, sea water or brackish is normal for a pleasure boat depending if they have a heat exchanger on the engine. What is "raw water"?

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9 hours ago, ALWAYS CRUZIN said:

Very interesting. Why not stainless steel exhaust system with a heat exchanger for the engine.

Fresh water, sea water or brackish is normal for a pleasure boat depending if they have a heat exchanger on the engine. What is "raw water"?

The exhaust, if the flexible type, is stainless steel.  However, if the exhaust develops a leak, you really don't want to be pumping water into the bilges of a lifeboat.  Wet exhaust also requires a second water pump, increasing the complexity of what is supposed to be a simple, safe piece of safety equipment.  And, with the exhaust pipe running down from the engine to the bilges and along the keel, and then up to exit above the waterline, you would have a wonderful "U-trap" full of water all the time that the engine would have to push the exhaust gas through.   "Raw water" is whatever water the boat is in at the time, as you say, fresh, salt, or brackish.

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On 3/15/2021 at 7:00 AM, chengkp75 said:

The exhaust, if the flexible type, is stainless steel.  However, if the exhaust develops a leak, you really don't want to be pumping water into the bilges of a lifeboat.  Wet exhaust also requires a second water pump, increasing the complexity of what is supposed to be a simple, safe piece of safety equipment.  And, with the exhaust pipe running down from the engine to the bilges and along the keel, and then up to exit above the waterline, you would have a wonderful "U-trap" full of water all the time that the engine would have to push the exhaust gas through.   "Raw water" is whatever water the boat is in at the time, as you say, fresh, salt, or brackish.

Thanks for the info. You would think they would design it so the possibility of a fire was minimal. Hopefully never happen again. Now 80 cruises plus. I have never seen them run a life boat engine out of the water. Probably because passengers are aboard. Always observed them lower the boats and run them around for awhile.

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1 hour ago, quattrohead said:

All boat engines are water cooled, so they are never ran out of the sea/river etc. When testing an engine in your back yard, you have to connect a water hose to it..

Those are boat engines.  As I've stated, the cooling on a lifeboat is closed loop, with a non-contact heat exchanger that cools the engine water with sea water, but the engine can run for many minutes without being in the water, unlike your outboard.

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On 3/19/2021 at 11:57 AM, chengkp75 said:

Those are boat engines.  As I've stated, the cooling on a lifeboat is closed loop, with a non-contact heat exchanger that cools the engine water with sea water, but the engine can run for many minutes without being in the water, unlike your outboard.

An inboard marine engine operates exactly the same with a heat exchanger for salt water cooling, can also run for at least 5 min on dry dock without cooling. Testing the engine that way is common.

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