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Marine Accident Investigation Techniques: Finding the Root Causes

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A vessel that has been damaged by a fire and/or explosion, suffered a mechanical failure, or had some sort of accident that resulted in injuries or property loss is almost always the subject of an investigation to determine the root cause and significant contributing factors. This paper describes the investigation process, including the skills and special knowledge that is often required for a complete investigation. Using several case investigations, the synergy of combining marine/mechanical and metallurgical testing and analyses is also discussed. Several engineering disciplines typically are required to recreate the sequence of events, components involved, and most probable causes. Such issues as maintenance, controls, design, and fail-safe performance are the domain of the marine/mechanical specialist. Determination of the failure mode, role of corrosion, thermal degradation, and materials selection issues are typically evaluated by a metallurgist. Design, materials selection, and component fabrication methods can become significant issues.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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  • Marine Technology is dedicated to James Kennedy, 1867-1936, marine engineer, and longtime member of the Society, in recognition and appreciation of his sincere and generous interest in furthering the art of ship design, shipbuilding, ship operation, and related activities.

    The Technical papers in this quarterly flagship journal cover a broad spectrum of research on the latest technological breakthroughs, trends, concepts, and discoveries in the marine industry. SNAME News is packed with Society news and information on national, section, and local levels as well as updates on committee activities, meetings, seminars, professional conferences, and employment opportunities.

    For access to Volume 47 Issue 2 and later, please contact SNAME
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