Jul 142014
 
little

Failure occurred because a small drive belt that connected the console throttle lever components to an electrical potentiometer failed

Little things, sometimes not included in routine maintenance, can cause big problems warns the US Coast Guard in a Safety Alert. A  worn drive belt and loose nuts that went unnoticed are among the example that led to close calls that could easily have become casualties.

One example concerns a two-decades-old bulker which was leaving port when its main engine throttle failed. It managed to drop anchor without incident.

It happened because a small drive belt that connected the console throttle lever components to an electrical potentiometer failed. Movement of the throttle causes the potentiometer to move and creates a variable signal to other controls which manage engine speed. When the belt failed the control from the engine room console was lost. Fortunately, the vessel had a spare belt that the engineers replaced quickly.

The underside of the Bosch/Rexroth throttle was encased and the belt was not visible under normal circumstances. It was not routinely inspected.

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