Diesel–Electric Propulsion (DEP) has been widely used for the propulsion of various ship types including cruise ships. Considering the potential consequences of blackouts, especially on cruise ships, it is essential to design and operate the ships’ power plants for avoiding and preventing such events. This study aims at implementing a comprehensive safety analysis for a cruise ship Diesel–Electric Propulsion (DEP) plant focusing on blackout events. The Combinatorial Approach to Safety Analysis (CASA) method is used to develop Fault Trees considering the blackout as the top event, and subsequently estimate the blackout frequency as well as implement importance analysis. The derived results demonstrate that the overall blackout frequency is close to corresponding values reported in the pertinent literature as well as estimations based on available accident investigations. This study deduces that the blackout frequency depends on the number of operating Diesel Generator (DG) sets, the DG set’s loading profile, the amount of electrical load that can be tripped during overload conditions and the plant operation phase. In addition, failures of the engine auxiliary systems and the fast-electrical load reduction functions, as well as the power generation control components, are identified as important. This study demonstrates the applicability of the CASA method to complex marine systems and reveals the parameters influencing the investigated system blackout frequency, thus providing better insights for these systems’ safety analysis and enhancement.
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