Engine Breakdown MV Alamosborg

Engine Breakdown MV Alamosborg

The MV Alamosborg was sailing the Atlantic Ocean on her way to Casablanca Morocco. All of a sudden, the main engine of the vessel broke down. Despite maintenance, online monitoring by Wartislä and a recent survey, bad luck prevented the vessel to continue her voyage. This is the story of the Alamosborg and how the people of Wagenborg combine strengths to deal with unforeseen setbacks.

June 18th, 2019

Captain D. Ciacu of the MV Alamosborg: “We left the port of Duluth after loading 11.000 tonnes of sugarbeetpulppellets for ADM and set direction to the port of Casablanca. ETA: July 25th.”

July 1st, 2019


While sailing approximately 250 nautical miles north east from the Azores, the MV Alamosborg was confronted with a main engine breakdown. Captain D. Ciacu: “The chief engineer noted a major damage to the main engine. Piston cylinder 5 had the connecting rod out, a broken crankcase and a damaged crankshaft. We were unable to continue sailing. Our destination port Casablanca was on a distance of  approximately 730 nautical miles. I informed José Luis Guerra of Wave Shipping as the shipping agent in Casablanca, Piter Oosterhof from the fleet management department (FMD) and the chartering department (CHD) about our situation.”

July 2nd, 2019


To arrange the Alamosborg to be towed to a port, Wagenborg Towage director Marc Mazereeuw was informed. He will try to arrange towage to a port in south Spain.


Laura Meijerhof of the insurance department was informed by Piter Oosterhof including the information that Algeciras has preference for FMD. “We hired an external expert for this case: Nick van Dincklage.”


Hans Kroon: “I contacted our client ADM to inform them about the situation with the Alamosborg.”


Piter Oosterhof: “To replace the crankshaft and possibly engine block, access must be made through the engine room bulkhead in hold 2. For this, the cargo in this hold must be unloaded. The result is that hold 1 also has to be unloaded, because otherwise the ship will be forward with a trim of 2 meters, which means that repairs cannot be done properly and safely. Conclusion: all cargo must be fully discharged.” The first ideas arise to perform a board-to-board operation.


For a board-to-board operation, the chartering department needed a suitable vessel and checked her open tonnage. Hans explains: “The MV Helga turned out to be in position to receive the cargo from the Alamosborg. Currently, the Helga is still heading for Bilbao, but the intention is to have her completed with discharging there on July 15th. Then she could be already in south Spain on July 18th.”


Sebastiaan Verstappen was working on the bunker planning for the Wagenborg fleet. “I got the idea to pump the remaining HFO (191,408 mts) out of the Alamosborg and transfer it to the MV Helga. This because the repairs to the Alamosborg will take several months and with the upcoming sulphur 2020 regulations, the HFO in the Alamosborg will be useless.”


Finally, a tug was approved by the insurance company. In approximately 3 days, the ‘Alp Ippon’ will arrive at the Alamosborg and tow her to a port in south Spain. The ETA of the Alamosborg is set on July 15 or 16 for now. José: “Most likely Alamosborg would go to Huelva, Málaga, Cádiz or Algeciras. I requested these ports for the possibilities for unloading, storage and loading for our 11,000 mt SBPP cargo. My preference was Algeciras as there are enough facilities to do ship repairs. Also we could use our own shipping agency in Algeciras.”

July 3rd, 2019


For discharging the cargo grabs are necessary, which are currently not available. José: “That is why I involved the supercargoes of Wagenborg to advise about the type and specs of the needed grabs. Supercargo Albert Snijders, based in Helsinki, came up with the idea of using two available grabs in Delfzijl, the Netherlands.”

Albert: “Normally, Wagenborg Stevedoring is using these grabs for discharging sugar vessels in Delfzijl, but these are also perfect for the A-type cranes.”


After consulting his network, José confirmed available space at the port facility at Campamento, near the Cernaval shipyard in Algeciras. “This location is perfect for both repairs and board-to-board operations for the MV Alamosborg and MV Helga. This choice would avoid extra time and costs compared to another port”, tells José.

July 8th, 2019


José: “The Algeciras port Authorities have given green light for board-to-board operations in Algeciras on the condition that all cargo has to be discharged as quickly as possible due to danger of auto combustion. In addition, both vessels have to meet the ballast water convention and conduct risk assessments. To prevent pollution, booms have to be placed around the vessels and tarpaulins between the two ships to prevent water pollution. I will take care of this.”

July 4th, 2019


José Luis Guerra is in consultation with the chartering department still evaluating the various scenarios and ports with regards to transshipment of the cargo. “Towing to the destiny port Casablanca is not an option, since the port authorities will not give a permission to bring in a ‘death’ vessel into this port. An alternative option is to discharge the cargo ashore and reload the cargo. A last scenario is transshipping the cargo by means of a board-to-board operation. However, also this must be granted by the port authorities. All scenarios are still under evaluation, but the last one is still preferable.”


José send an official request to the Algeciras port Authorities to perform a board-to-board operation. In addition, he added an anti-spillage plan.

July 5th, 2019


Harry Boers from Wagenborg Stevedoring confirmed the technical details and suitability of the grabs. Max Tack of Wagenborg Projects & Logistics immediately booked transport to south Spain for these grabs by truck.


The tug Alp Ippon arrived at the MV Alamosborg and started the tow as soon as possible to the direction of south Spain. For now, it is expected to arrive at south Spain July 10th.

July 9th, 2019


José: “All is arranged for proper and safe arrival of the MV Alamosborg: pilots notified, port notified, tugs and mooring men notified and the shipyard is notified.”


Kathy Schiere informs all parties involved, including the MV Helga and client ADM. “We hereby give notice for the MV Helga to load 11.000 tons of sugar beet pulp pellets from the Alamosborg in Algeciras.”

July 10th, 2019


The MV Alamosborg arrived and berthed at the port of Algeciras. Now she is waiting for the arrival of the MV Helga in order to perform the transshipment of the cargo.

July 14th, 2019


The two grabs are loaded at the terminal of Wagenborg Stevedoring in Delfzijl and will set direction to Algeciras. Meanwhile José arranged other needed equipment, such as fenders and special covers for the Alamosborg.     

July 18th, 2019


The bunkering hoses and equipment were delivered to the MV Alamosborg. Also the fenders were rigged to the vessel.


The MV Helga arrived at Algeciras and berthed next to the Alamosborg.


Booms were placed around both vessels after which the Port Auxiliary Service Bunker Surveyor was invited to carry out a bunker survey on both vessels.


The bunker operations started.

July 17th, 2019


José received the formal confirmation from the port authorities to carry out the requested HFO transfer from the MV Alamosborg to the MV Helga. Also, he got the confirmation from hose rental company they will be able to supply hoses with enough length and with adapters with gaskets to connect to both vessel´s connection points.

July 19th, 2019


End of bunkering.


Arrival of our surveyor together with the receivers surveyor to perform hold inspections and cargo sampling for the cargo transshipment to the MV Helga. Both cargo holds of the Helga were visually inspected and found empty and clean: MV Helga was ready for the transshipment operation. At the same time, the MV Alamosborg was inspected during opening procedures. The hold and hatches structures were inspected for cleanliness and suitability purposes. Both holds were also in good condition. Upon holds opening, the cargo of sugerbeetpulppellets was visually inspected as far as possible. The cargo in both holds was free-flowing, in sound condition, free from foreign smell and living insects. Also the MV Alamosborg was ready to transship the cargo.


Collection of bunkering hoses and equipment.


The trucks with the grabs arrived at the port of Algeciras.


Tarpaulins were placed between both vessels to prevent pollutions and spills during the transshipment operations.



The grabs were installed on the deck cranes of the MV Alamosborg.


Before the transshipment operations could finally start, draft surveys were performed on both vessels jointly by the chief officers. This was done in order to calculate the transshipped quantity of sugerbeetpulppellets.


Start of board-to-board operations. The transshipment operations were performed by means of the three 60 tons deck cranes of the MV Alamosborg. Each deck crane was equipped with a grab machine resulting in an operating rate of 230 tons per hour. The transshipment operations were carried out 24/7 with only minor stoppages for changing crane operators after their six hours shifts and refueling of the grab machines.

July 22nd, 2019


After excellent work of all deck personnel and local stevedores, MV Alamosborg cargo hold I completed discharge at 07.45 hrs. and hold II at 13.20 hrs. MV Helga cargo hold II completed loading at 10.40 hrs. and hold I at 13.25 hrs.


The arranged booms around both vessels were removed. Fenders were removed and the truck with both grabs returned to Delfzijl.


The MV Helga cleared berth and set direction to Casablanca.

August 1st, 2019


José arranged tugboats and a pilot to shift the MV Alamosborg to the repair quay of the shipyard.


The MV Helga arrived in her destination port Casablanca with the ex-Alamosborg cargo.

“Although this incident had a major impact on our client ADM, I am proud of the way all Wagenborg people joined forces and came to the best solution for all parties involved.”

Egbert Vuursteen, CEO Royal Wagenborg

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