The maritime industry is currently going through a significant number of changes due to the introduction of tighter emission regulations. A stronger awareness in preserving the environment has pushed forward more stringent IMO (International Maritime Organization) legislation that imposes on ship owners and managers the use of new technologies which affect the day by day running of the vessel, starting with the choice of fuel, through changes in the engine operational parameters, and culminating in a severe reduction in allowable exhaust emissions. These changes combined with a volatile fuel market, high competition in cargo rates, the pressure to reduce operating costs and the introduction of new technological advancements have brought the industry into uncharted operational territories, abandoning the ‘comfort zone’ that has been enjoyed in the last twenty years or so. The present changeable environment has a significant impact in the way two-stroke, slow speed, diesel engines are managed, introducing new challenges for different fuel types, different lubricants and ancillary equipment required to meet the new requirements. Field experience has shown that all these factors can lead to unintended consequences, including engine damage caused by poor fuel quality, lack of training/knowledge of the operators, incorrect lubrication choice and poor set up. This paper discusses how the combination of offline and online condition monitoring techniques, both on-board and on-shore, can be successfully used to prevent engine damage and avoid unplanned maintenance costs due to downtime.

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