Coast Guard detains bulker for engine room fire risk

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PORTLAND, Ore.) — The Coast Guard discovered substandard safety issues on board the bulk carrier Iolcos Commander in Longview, Wash., on Monday after Port State Control officers detected violations to the International Safety of Life at Sea Treaty (SOLAS). The main purpose of the Port State Control program is to prevent a ship from proceeding to sea if it is unsafe or presents an unreasonable threat of harm to the marine environment.

Iolcos Commander, a 714-foot, Malta-flagged ship, will remain in the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River captain of the port zone until the violations are corrected.

On the evening of Feb. 12, the Coast Guard received notification from the captain of Iolcos Commander of an engine malfunction while getting underway from berth in Longview. The vessel attempted to start their engine to transit to Vancouver, Wash., but the crew was unsuccessful in starting the main engine and had to receive tug assistance mooring back to their berth.

Upon notification of the marine casualty, the Coast Guard’s captain of the port issued an order requiring the vessel to remain at berth until repairs were conducted and approved. The following morning, inspectors from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland went onboard to assess damages. After inspectors identified several safety discrepancies they expanded the scope of the damage assessment, leading them to conduct a full safety and security exam.

Inspectors found fuel and cooling water leaking from the main engine, posing a potential fire hazard to the crew. The inspectors also found the fixed fire extinguishing system was improperly installed, causing excessive chaffing on several discharge hoses rendering the system unsafe to operate.

Crewmembers on board Iolcos Commander are currently rectifying the deficiencies.

By Professional Mariner Staff