This paper proposes a new belief rule-based (BRB) expert system for fault diagnosis of marine diesel engines. The expert system is the first of its kind that consists of multiple concurrently activated BRB subsystems, in which each subsystem has its distinctive outputs and uses the evidential reasoning approach for inference. This novel modeling approach can be applied to identify fault modes that may co-exist. In essence, the group of BRB subsystems is used to model the nonlinear relationships between the fault features and the fault modes in marine diesel engines. The initial BRB expert system can be established by using expert experience and then optimized by using the data samples accumulated during the operation of marine diesel engines. Due to limitations in knowledge and data collected, ignorance is also considered in some BRB subsystems. The proposed BRB expert system is applied to abnormal wear detection for a kind of marine diesel engine. The performance of the BRB expert system is investigated in comparison with that of artificial neural network (ANN) models, support vector machine (SVM) models, and binary logistic regression model with fivefold cross-validation. The results show that the BRB expert system can be used for fault diagnosis of marine diesel engines in a probabilistic manner, which outperforms the ANN models, SVM models, and the binary logistic regression model in terms of accuracy and stability, and can effectively identify concurrent faults.