Photo of offshore supply vessel Ocean Intervention under way before the accident.

​Offshore supply vessel Ocean Intervention under way before the accident. Source: Oceaneering International Inc.​

Diesel Generator Engine Failure aboard Offshore Supply Vessel Ocean Intervention

What Happened

​​​At 1303 local time on December 19, 2020, the no. 3 diesel generator engine aboard the Ocean Intervention suffered a mechanical failure while the offshore supply vessel was anchored off Honolulu, Hawaii. The failure led to the ejection of components from the engine and resulted in a fire in the engine room. The crew isolated the fire before it could spread throughout the vessel. No pollution or injury to the 16 crewmembers on board was reported. Damage to the Ocean Intervention totaled $3,046,624.

What We Found

We determined that the probable cause of the diesel generator engine failure aboard the offshore supply vessel Ocean Intervention was a cylinder’s connecting rod bearing adhering to the crankshaft, which led to the ejection of the connecting rod and catastrophic damage to the engine.​

Lessons Learned

​Engine rooms contain multiple fuel sources as well as mechanical ventilation, making the spaces especially vulnerable to rapidly spreading fires. The crew of the Ocean Intervention effectively contained the spread of a fire by removing fuel and oxygen sources. Vessel crews should familiarize themselves and train frequently on machinery, fuel oil, lube oil, and ventilation shutoff systems to quickly act to contain and suppress engine room fires before they can spread to other spaces and/or cause a loss of propulsion and electrical power.​