The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has blamed an April 2022 engine fire on board an Endo Tankers MR2 product tanker on improper maintenance.

The blaze on the 46,800-dwt Endo Breeze (built 2003) caused $1.2m in damages, the NTSB said in a report released on Thursday.

The Endo Breeze was transiting through the Raritan Bay West Reach channel near Staten Island, New York, on 29 April 2022 when a blaze broke out in its engine room.

The engine room was immediately evacuated, and the chief engineer activated the fixed carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishing system.

With its main engine shut down, the ship was anchored and attended to by marine firefighting assets of the Fire Department of the City of New York. The engine room was deemed safe for re-entry 48 hours later, at which time the fire was deemed extinguished.

NTSB investigators examined the engine’s number one cylinder fuel injector pump and discovered a slight offset on the banjo tube assembly.

“Investigators determined it is likely that the engineer did not correctly follow the manufacturer’s procedure for fuel injector pump reassembly when performing maintenance a day before the fire,” the NTSB said.

The NTSB said it has investigated several recent casualties involving mechanical or fuel line fitting failures that led to engine room fires following maintenance of shipboard diesel engines.

“The engine room fire in this casualty illustrates what can happen when equipment manufacturers’ recommended maintenance procedures are not followed,” the agency said. “In this case, not following the tightening sequence described in the diesel engine manufacturer’s manual led to the misalignment and failure of a high-pressure fuel connection on an engine’s fuel injector pump’s assembly.”

“Due to the high risk of fire associated with pressurised fuel, when working with diesel engine components, it’s critical to carefully follow manufacturer assembly procedures and review manufacturer manuals and guidance on a regular basis to ensure familiarity with correct maintenance procedures.”

The NTSB credited the crew of the Endo Breeze for effectively containing the spread of the fire by removing fuel and oxygen sources and communicating effectively.

“To prevent engine room fires and ensure they are effectively contained, operators should provide mariners realistic scenario-based training, including training that covers engine room emergencies,” it said. “This training should also cover procedures for effectively shutting down machinery, fuel oil, lube oil, and ventilation systems, as well as boundary monitoring.”

The Endo Breeze was repaired following the fire and sold to Dubai-based Stratus Shipping for a reported $14m in September 2022. Currently trading under the name Euro Breeze, the ship is managed by Almanac Ship Management, also of Dubai.