The M/T ISARSTERN was u/w making way in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 10 miles off the Florida Keys.
At 2320 on 11Dec02 the Master received a high
temperature/pressure cooling water alarm on the bridge.
The Chief Engineer recommended the Master shut-down the MDE
to allow the ship's engineers to investigate the cause.
The chief engineer suspected the No. 7
and possibly the No. 2 cylinder heads were cracked.
The Chief Engineer discovered a large amount of water
in the No. .2, 5, and 7 cylinders.
The Chief Engineer suspected the cylinder liners
and possibly the heads were cracked allowing cooling water to enter cylinder.
The ISARSTERN was carrying 302 metric tons of fuel and 67.5 metric tons of lube oil and no cargo.
The vessel was fully ballasted.
The Master notified Coast Guard Group Key West of the failure
and deployed the vessel's starboard anchor and 100 meters of chain
to slow their drift and catch the bottom if the vessel drifted toward shore.
At 0300 on 12Dec02, repairs were still on-going
and the vessel's rate of drift was 1.2 kts to the North East drifting toward Sombrero Reef Light.
At that time the ISARSTERN was in 137 meters of water.
Coast Guard Group Key West notified the Investigating Officer (IO) from MSD Marathon.
IO requested Group Key West maintain hourly communication schedule with the vessel
and IO would board the vessel after sunrise.
IO notified NOAA and Department of Interior representatives that the
ISARSTERN was adrift IVO the "Area To Be Avoided" South of Marathon, FL.
At 0830 IO was underway on board a CG Station Marathon asset.
IO boarded the ISARSTERN at 0930.
IO met with Master and Chief Engineer to discuss the cause of the failure and the status of repairs.
A verbal Captain of the Port Order was issued to the Master
requiring the operating company to hire an ocean going tug of sufficient horsepower
to prevent the ISARSTERN from drifting into the coral reefs off the Florida Keys.
(COTP Order No: 1717873)
The Tug EAGLE II was contracted by the vessel's owners to remain on standby i
in case the ISARSTERN's anchor did not grab the bottom
as it approached shallower waters.
The Master of the ISARSTERN also had the crew
make ready two additional anchors to be deployed if needed.
The ship's engineers worked all day and through the evening on diagnosing and affecting repairs.
On 13Dec02 a Class Surveyor from Germanisher Lloyd and two
technicians from the manufacturer attended the vessel after repairs were completed
and verified all systems of the MDE were in order
and operating within manufacturer's specifications.
The extent of the damage the ISARSTERN's MDE was as follows:
The vessel was equipped with a singular 7-cylinder MAN 7L48/60. The
cause of the incident was a leaking exhaust valve cage
on the coupling side of the number 7-cylinder cover.
The leak allowed cooling water to enter the cylinder and
caused the loss RPMs and HT cooling alarm on the bridge.
No cracks were found in any other cylinder.
The exhaust valve on the number 5-cylinder was replaced as a
precaution since water was found in that cylinder
and the number 2-cylinder was tested with no discrepancies noted.
RELEASE from COTP Order: On 13Dec02 at 2230 the
vessel was released from COTP Order and allowed to continue her voyage to Houston, TX.
The vessel's anchor never touched bottom and there was no damage to any
This incident deemed data collection as per current G-MOA policy.