OCIMF and INTERTANKO have been made aware that some anchor windlass machinery in service may still be subject to catastrophic failures similar to that experienced in an incident investigated eight years ago by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB). The MAIB’s “Report on the investigation of the catastrophic failure of a windlass hydraulic motor on board Stellar Voyager” can be found here. One person was injured in that incident. The report concluded that the most likely cause of the catastrophic failure was over-pressurisation of the system due to the reversal of the hydraulic motor as the chain rendered.
Following the incident, recommendations were made to several stakeholders. Despite these recommendations, and although rare, it has recently come to the attention of OCIMF and INTERTANKO that similar incidents have since occurred. The most recent incident in March 2017 resulted in a serious injury.
Members can help to reduce the number of incidents by doing the following:
Although the MAIB report on the Stellar Voyager incident largely focused on a bent axis axial piston variable displacement pump, it is unclear to OCIMF and INTERTANKO how many windlasses remain in service and at risk of a similar failure. If Members are unsure, we urge them to contact their windlass manufacturer(s) and seek guidance on this important safety issue.