The M/V AMKE case

Breezemarine Group was contacted by the owner of the M/V AMKE, a general cargo vessel sailing under the Portuguese flag. Cargo ships are essential in the maritime industry and can always be in commission for a short time. Minor issues may be ignored until a bigger “servicing” can happen. Breezemarine’s expertise and access to new parts resolved the multiple problems faced by this vessel.

A Gibberish Bridge Operator Panel

The navigation bridge is a primary hub for ship management and control over all ship systems. It is equipped with various hardware capable of receiving sensor signals, automatically processing them, and generating output information, including all errors and alarms.

One of these systems is the frequently encountered bridge operator system or operator panel. It can include a fire alarm system and output the basic information from other ship installations, such as the main engine and air conditioning system. 

The information is displayed on the screen as specific messages or alarms and pertains to connected system numbers specified in the manual. In this case, various unknown symbols appeared, and some buttons stopped working. 

Studying the manual did not help, as these errors were a non-standard output format. Restarting the panels with a full reset also didn’t help.

After thoroughly analyzing the symbols and broken buttons, our expert advised replacing the control panels with a smoke detection system. There wasn’t a problem with the system itself – which consists of the control panel and smoke and flame sensors – but there was damage to the panel unit that outputs information. However, it is easy to fix for Breezemarine Group, a leading supplier of spare parts and equipment.

 Image: Operator Panel. Some buttons are not working, unknown symbols.

The Missing High Cooling Temperature Alarm

The thermostat can be found in a housing located at the engine’s coolant outlet. As the coolant in the engine warms up past a preset temperature, the thermostat senses it and allows coolant to circulate through the radiator to keep the temps under control. Before opening, the coolant traditionally recirculates without passing through the radiator. 

The crew of the M/V AMKE noticed the alarm light would no longer appear. Breezemarine Group investigated the engine thermostats and checked the line integrity. When disconnecting the signal wire from the control panel and UPS, the alarm came through immediately.

To finalize the fix, our expert changed the operating temperature setting of both thermostats. Moving the preset to -85C aided in getting the approximate temperature on the display device to be correct again. It triggered an alarm on both engines. All in all, a relatively quick fix but one that required some expertise to resolve.

 Automatic Fire Alarm System Controllers 

During the fuel leak sensors investigations, our expert noticed how the APS did not work on both generators due to a fuel leak. That would explain the M/V AMKE’s issues with the controllers of the automatic fire alarm system.

Based on the existing manual, if the signal from the controller is lost, the APS should work within a time interval from 1 to 99 seconds (according to the task). But even after 5 minutes, nothing happened. An incorrect signal came from the sensors, effectively sending and immediately removing the signal sent to the controller. That also means the panel cannot display any alarms, as there is no data to process.

After replacing the fuel leak sensors, working on the APS controllers is the next objective. That should help the generator engine control panels receive accurate signals and avoid mishaps. Again, Breezemarine Group will do its part sourcing the necessary components to support the M/V AMKE’s return to normal operations as soon as possible.

 Need help with your vessel maintenance? Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.