Machinery claims

The Swedish Club experienced 487 machinery claims in the 2012-2014 period, costing a total of USD 187.6 million. Main engine damage remains the most expensive category, contributing 34.3% of total machinery claims cost (30.4% in the earlier period) and 12.7% (10.9%) of the total H&M claims cost. Despite the rise in claims cost share, the average cost of a main engine claim has reduced by 14.0% compared to the previous survey period. The average cost of main engine damage between 20052011 was almost USD 634,000. The latest survey records 118 main engine claims averaging USD 545,000 which is a 14% decrease (Table 1). 

Claims Type Number Average cost (USD) Change (%)
Main engine 118 545,000 -14%
Aux engine 79 326,000 -7%
Turbocharger 79 335,000 -8%
Propulsion* 109 442,000 -37%
Rudder/steering gear 22 321,000 -48%
Boiler 22 247,000 -22%
Other** 91 235,000 -21%
TOTAL 487 385,000 -19%

 *Propeller, shaft, gearbox  etc
**Machinery such as electrical equipment, cranes, cargo gear, deck equipment


Main engine claims

An overview of the main engine claims frequency trend over a 10-year period shows minor fluctuations over the period and has stabilized to around 0.02 claims per vessel/year (graph 1 below).

 Graph 1. Main engine claims and trends, 2005-2014


Graph 2. Main engine claims by vessel type, 2012-2014



Overview of main engine claims by vessel specifics

Container vessels account for more than 47% of the total cost of main engine damage claims but only 37% of the fleet, presented in Graph 2. This trend has broad similarities with Graph 1 where container vessels are also overrepresented. It can be concluded that container vessels are therefore particularly exposed to main engine claims. Conversely, Graph 2 shows that bulker and tanker vessels are underrepresented in the hierarchy of total main engine damage claims costs. Dry cargo vessels have the highest claims per insured vessel value. When comparing the relation between number of club entries and claims cost as well as claim frequency by vessel builder country, it is shown that Korea, which accounts for almost 31% of club entries, only shares 12% of the total main engine claims cost (Graph 3). Conversely China is overrepresented by a large margin, with almost 30% of club entries and 36% of the total claim costs for all engine types.

Graph 3. Top five: Main engine claims by vessel builder country, 2012-2014 


 Overview of main engine claims by engine specifics

Main engine claims and entry by make of engine is show in Graph 4, represented by the codes A-F. Codes A-C are low speed engine makes and D-F and ‘Other’ are medium/high. The identity of the manufacturers is available to Club members only, upon request. The survey shows that despite accounting for over 57% of club entries, engine makers with code A represent only 40% of main engine claims cost. Codes D and E on the other hand are overrepresented with about 15% club entries in total and over a third of the total main engine claims costs together. ‘Other’ engine makes have extremely few vessels insured hence the disproportionate result.


Graph 4. Main engine claims by engine make, 2012-2014


 Main engine claims by engine make, 2012-2014

The graph shows that vessels entered with The Swedish Club for H&M consist mainly of low speed engine vessels. However in terms of claim frequency it is shown that vessels with medium and high speed engines have a higher claim/entry ratio.

  Four-stroke-Inline versus V configuration, 2012-2014

The configuration of medium/high speed engines relates to the claim cost. V configured engines have a 42% higher average claim cost than inline as shown in the above graph. The frequency of claims is approximately the same.


Damaged parts

This table focus on the seven most common damaged parts in the main engine claims category. The tables show numbers and costs per damaged parts for claims for the 2012-2014 period. The latest survey shows that bearing damage now constitutes the part with the most expensive damage, with an average cost of USD 1.6 million.

The seven most common types of claims, 2012-2014

Damaged parts Number Average cost (USD) Change (%)
Bearing* 4 1,601,000 110%
Camshaft 13 1,050,000 -23%
Cylinder/liner 12 486,627 -18%
Cylinder cover 5 193,000 na
Fuel Pumps 5 410,000 na
Piston 6 528,000 33%
Multiple parts** 15 509,000 -20%
TOTAL 60 662,000 na

*Includes crankshaft damage
**Damage where multiple engine parts are involved and the proximate cause could not be established.


 Cause of damage

• Contaminated lubrication oil
• Experts not in attendance at major overhauls
• Using contaminated bunkers
• Purifiers not operated as per manufacturers’ instructions
• Engine components not overhauled as per manufacturers’ instructions
• Crew with insufficient experience/training

The tables below shows the top three most common causes of damage for the 2005-2011 and 2012-2014 periods respectively. Incorrect maintenance and/or repairs are the most frequent cause of damage in both periods. With an average cost per claim of USD 926,000, lubrication failure is still the most expensive cause of damage to the main engine. 


Top 3 causes of damage by number, 2005-2011


The latest survey has shown that most main engine claims are as a direct and indirect result of incorrect maintenance. Numerous cases have been noted where damage occurs shortly after the engines have been overhauled by ship or shore staff. This emphasizes the importance of correct maintenance.

Recurring issues

• Insufficient planning.
• Insufficient experience/training.
• Non-compliance with company procedures.
• Procedures which are unclear, not comprehensive enough or have not been implemented.
• Experts not in attendance at major overhauls.
• Not having adequate follow-up methods after maintenance work. 

Top 3 causes of damage by number, 2012-2014

Limited experience

Shortage of seafarers with experience has been highlighted before in Club publications, but it is worth repeating. This fact emphasizes the importance of monitoring by shore staff. There is a significant risk that officers are being promoted before they have acquired the necessary experience for senior command.   It is also important that the maintenance of all engine components is included in the PMS (Planned Maintenance System).




• Implement onboard fuel management and fuel system audits.
• Verify that the various parts, including purifiers are tested for proper function and are operated in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations.
• It is imperative to monitor the quality of the lubrication oil. Samples of lubrication oils should be sent ashore for analysis at least every three months.
• During major overhauls it is highly recommended to have experts in attendance.
• It is important to only use spare parts approved by the engine manufacturer.
• Invest in employee training.
• Carry out comprehensive audits and inspections.
• Replace diaphragm sealings at crank case luboil outlets at recommended intervals.


 An in-depth investigation of machinery claims shows that a great deal of engine damage is related to insufficient management systems. In order to reduce machinery claims a well-implemented and proper management system is important. It is essential that crewmembers have the necessary experience to ensure that ordinary daily work and maintenance is performed in accordance with company procedures. However it is of utmost importance to carry out comprehensive audits and inspections to prevent management plans from being compromised.
Insufficient reporting and follow up work is a major problem at the management stage. It is highly recommended that members have a PMS which is approved by a classification society and well-implemented both onboard and ashore, with annual controls put in place by the classification society to achieve best possible results.


Bunkers / Fuel quality:

  • The usage of bad bunkers may render a ship un-maneuverable and lead to catastrophic consequences. The recovery process against the charterers is almost always an uphill struggle and keeps our FDD department busy. The club promotes strict sampling and analysis routines – never burn your bunker until you know it meets the required specification.

 Guidelines for operation on distillate fuels 

 Bunker fuel quality - Past and future 

 Contamination of fuel oils - In spite of ISO 8217 

 CCAI related bunker problems 

 NZ – low sulphur diesel fuel

Other machinery

Visiting address

The Swedish Club
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SE-411 04 Gothenburg

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The Swedish Club
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P.O Box 171
SE-401 22 Gothenburg


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