Check your battery charging setup if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises is the message in a safety alert issued by Marine Safety Forum. In this case two chargers were at work simultaneously, evaporating electrolyte and leading to an explosion.
As part of his weekly routine, the Engineer was carrying out planned maintenance of emergency generator. When the Engineer started the generator, he heard a loud bang from the battery container.
He stopped the process and investigated the noise which was when he discovered that one of the starter batteries had fragmented with the top of the battery detaching from body.
The battery was safely removed and switched over to hydraulic starting mode.On investigation, it was discovered that the vessel’s emergency generator battery charging system was set up in such a way that the 2 chargers could be charging the battery simultaneously. It is the belief of the investigation team that this had been happening over a period of time causing excess evaporation within the maintenance free battery. With the battery plates now exposed, it is likely that the battery arced, causing it to explode.
- All charging systems should be checked to ensure that it is only possible to charge within the specified rate
- All battery boxes should be checked for fixing & integrity as part of planned maintenance