Crankcase explosion in marine diesel engines is an operational failure which might result in damaging both to the ship structure and to crew members onboard. A number of precautions should be taken into account in order to prevent/reduce the occurrence probability of crankcase explosion. This paper takes the advantages of the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) to adapt innovative marine technologies integrated with the operational aspects in order to prevent crankcase explosion failure onboard ships. The main objectives of the study are to improve the machinery system reliability and to enhance operational safety concepts on board ship. The paper outcomes have potential to contribute the ongoing efforts of marine equipment manufacturers/classification societies/ship operators. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.