Passenger ship operators should take a close look at the risks of power failure

Image courtesy of DNV

Posted on April 21, 2022 at 6:20 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

DNV advises operators of passenger vessels to pay particular attention to the dangers posed by power failures, particularly for vessels with modern and complex electrical controls and systems.

“The underlying causes of power outages can often be traced to the operation of complex integrated systems,” DNV advised. “Today the industry is driven to design and implement
technical solutions and operations that reduce costs and are more energy efficient. The complexity of systems integration challenges our ability to understand how these systems work. It has become a growing concern for the entire industry.”

In 2019, 12 power outage events were reported on cruise ships that resulted in full or partial outage, according to DNV, compared to four events in 2018. In open water, the consequences are usually low, but in a port or a channel power failure can lead to a serious marine accident, such as grounding or collision. Even barring a serious incident, a power outage can bring negative publicity to a passenger ship operator.

Using a ‘bow tie’ model to illustrate the risks and barriers to escalation, DNV recommended that passenger ship operators conduct a review of technical and operational measures to improve the reliability of their existing fleet. This includes improving operating and maintenance procedures, managing software and networks, training crew, performing power failure tests, and taking steps to ensure tolerant closed bus operations. to breakdowns. This may include the installation of an additional safety control system that oversees the operation of each generator set, separate from its fuel control system and its excitation control system.

In the future, many improvements can be incorporated into the next generation of ships, such as the integration of human-centered design into the ship systems engineering process. Backup battery power and efficient fault recovery systems can also be installed at the shipyard.

“This is an excellent initiative that combines design principles, technical commissioning and human factors. A holistic approach is essential to maintain design principles throughout development, integration and final testing of the system, including operator familiarization and training of new crew members,” Rami said. Nurminen, director of technical insurance at Royal Caribbean Cruises.