Catastrophic engine failure resulting in a fire on crew transfer vessel Windcat 8

Location: Off the Lincolnshire coast, England.

Accident investigation Report 1/2018

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons learned and recommendations:

MAIB investigation report 1-2018: Windcat 8

Photograph of crew transfer vessel Windcat 8


Catastrophic engine failure and subsequent fire on a 15 metre windfarm crew transfer vessel. There were no injuries to the two crew or the 12 embarked wind turbine technicians. The fixed firefighting system was operated, but it was ineffective because not all the engine space vents had been closed. The fire caused only minor damage and eventually extinguished when it ran out of fuel.

Safety lessons

  • the damage to the port engine was caused by the failure of a piston connecting rod big end shell bearing
  • the initial high oil temperature alarm prior to the engine failure warranted a more cautious approach until a deeper technical investigation could be conducted
  • the fire resulted from the ignition of oil vapour released from the damaged engine
  • the fixed fire-fighting system was rendered ineffective because not all the port engine space vents were closed prior to its activation
  • the safety of the embarked technicians was given a high priority


The vessel’s operator has been recommended (2018/101) to provide training and guidance to its crew on the action to be taken in the event of critical propulsion alarms, and to ensure they are familiar with the use of fixed fire-fighting systems.

Published 28 February 2018