4/4/2016: Safety alert – Vibration abrasion

The Coast Guard issued Marine Safety Alert 02-16 to address causal factors related to a temporary loss of electrical power that occurred onboard a tow boat with a tow. In this case, electrical power was restored quickly by a standby generator, and the vessel and tow remained under control throughout the event. Furthermore, the crew quickly identified the problem and took appropriate steps to prevent recurrence.

The casualty involved a diesel-driven generator, which grounded out and tripped off line when one of the primary leads exiting the generator housing chafed against its steel enclosure. Investigators determined that other vessels operated by the same company had similar generators and wiring arrangements. Inspection of those generators showed similar signs of chafing and abrasion, but the wiring had not yet reached the point of failure.

View the safety alert for full details and associated Coast Guard recommendations.

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