electrical, electricity, power, generator, alternator, fault, batteries, protection, supply, restore, dc, blackout, brownout, emergency, loads, electro, technology, engineer, distribution, essential, trip

Electrical Blackout

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electrical, electricity, power, generator, alternator, fault, batteries, protection, supply, restore, dc, blackout, brownout, emergency, loads, electro, technology, engineer, distribution, essential, trip

electrical, electricity, power, generator, alternator, fault, batteries, protection, supply, restore, dc, blackout, brownout, emergency, loads, electro, technology, engineer, distribution, essential, trip
Synchronizing Generators


Heavier loads need additional generators


Gensets checking

Electrical Blackout

Electrical power on a ship is essential. All machinery runs on electrical supply. That's why the generator sets are so important. Without electrical power, the ship will have no propulsion and steering. It would be a disaster both in rough weather and in narrow waters.

There are many components of a generator set - the engine, the alternator, the fuel, the cooling system, the electrical wiring, etc. All of these can develop its own problems. The generator sets are usually maintained by the Third Engineer, because he is the most senior watch keeping engineer.

When electrical faults develop in the distribution, protection devices can trip and cause interruption to the electrical supply. The watch keeping engineer on duty at that time will then have to quickly restore the power back to the ship.

Whenever there is a blackout that involves the interruption of electrical supply to the whole ship, the emergency power supply from the storage batteries will take over some of the most essential services.

A typical ship will use 24 Volt DC supply from the batteries in the battery room to supply for:
  • Main engine and auxiliary engine control consoles
  • Engine room, accommodation lighting
  • Inverter for navigation lights
  • Signal lights and boat station lights
  • Public address system and telephone systems
  • Other systems like auxiliary engines, emergency generator start circuits, fire detection systems, locked-in alarm for cold room and lift, lift telephone and lighting.
The duration of the battery supply follows the regulations for Passenger Ships and Cargo Ships - being longer for passenger ships. The battery supply will enable the engineers to move around and start back standby generators, energize circuit breakers and do other troubleshooting works to restore the power.

For bigger ships, emergency generators are sometimes fitted that will start by themselves automatically. These can supply more high powered machinery like emergency fire pumps, air compressors, lift, steering gear, gyro compass, radar, engine room control console, boat winches, cargo control console, and engine room ventilation fans, lighting, and navigation lights.

Preference Trip

The electrical distribution system on board a ship is usually arranged so that in case of heavy overloaded usage, non-essential loads will trip first. Machinery is classified as essential and non-essential.

Examples of non-essential loads are: fans, refrigerator compressor, crane, lathe, grinder, arc welder, air conditioning, deck powered equipment like cooking, baking oven, etc.

In between non-essential and essential, there may be some machinery like boiler feed water pump, boiler water circulating pump, fuel transfer pump, oil purifier, sludge, ballast pump, hot water circulating pump, distillation pump, freshwater and potable pumps that could be tripped off to reduce the load. These may be set to trip if tripping the non-essential loads could not reduce the overall overloaded condition.

Essential loads are mostly equipment that is related to the working of the main engine, steering gear and the safety of the ship. Examples of these are: Cooling seawater pump, jacket cooling water pump, piston cooling water pump, lubrication oil pump, fuel valve cooling water pump, turbocharger oil pump, stern tube lubrication oil pump, stern tube seal oil pump, steering gear pump, fire and general service pump, bilge pump, main air compressor, auxiliary seawater pump, auxiliary air compressor, condensate water pump, fuel oil booster pump.

Electro-technology is a subject that Licensed Marine Engineers need to know. Download "Electro-Technology Questions & Answers" e-book. This e-book is useful not only to marine engineers, but for any engineer on shore.
 

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