Motor or Steam

BlythSpirit
15th May 2007, 15:09
Probably just for the engineering department guys:

I never sailed on motor ships at all - my whole 13 years at sea were on steam turbine ships, (and tankers at that).

I just wondered what impressions and preferences are, from those of you who did sail on both motor and steam vessels.

I refused to go on motor ships while still on tankers as I always thought that the time in port was short anyway without burdening myself with main engine maintenance as well.

I am of course aware that many people thoroughly enjoyed their motor ship experiences but I would be interested to hear what people's preferences were.

K urgess
15th May 2007, 15:40
From a purely aesthetic point of view I hated steam turbine ships.
Nothing to sing you to sleep at night.[=P]
The only qualification was triple expansion which was an acceptable substitute for a 4 legged Dox.

From an engineering point of view any work I had to do in engine rooms was easier on turbine powered VLCCs where there was plenty of room, bloody great cathedrals! Some motor ships tended to stick bits in odd corners and make them very difficult to get at. Always seemed a bit claustrophobic on smaller vessels.

JoK
15th May 2007, 17:24
I loved the Skinner Uniflow steam engines.They ran like a top with minimal issues.


Froze on the motor ships. Was on one where I wore insulated coveralls on watch, 10*C in front of the main engine turbocharges. Had to plot a way around the engineroom to avoid the ventilators blowing down.

Toby T
15th May 2007, 17:37
I was fortune enough to join my first ship in May 1958 as an engineer on a triple expansion engined steam vessel, what a joy it was to stand at the control platform,open the main steam valve and watch those con. rods going round and then to see the link gear going over as you opened the valve on the reversing engine, a sight I still fondly remember after nearly 50 years.

I then progressed (for want of a better word) to motor and diesel electric which did not hold the same magic as the old triple's. I finally ended up on the North Sea rig supply vessels with those horibble high speed turbo charged V 12 diesel's, it just was not the same.

steviej
15th May 2007, 19:59
I loved the Skinner Uniflow steam engines.They ran like a top with minimal issues.


Froze on the motor ships. Was on one where I wore insulated coveralls on watch, 10*C in front of the main engine turbocharges. Had to plot a way around the engineroom to avoid the ventilators blowing down.

I sailed up the St Lawrence in winter on motors and I have to agree that it was comfortable. That was the exception the rest of the time my experience of motor ships was extremely hot. Medium speed high maintainance engines in small engine spaces in the tropics with temps reaching 130. I did sail on steam turbines and although it was hot and more humid I found that there was less maintainance than motor ships. I suppose if I had my time again I would have prefered more steam time but my favorite days at sea were on the Doxford(Thumb)
steviej

Doxfordman
15th May 2007, 23:50
I had a very rounded education in both diciplines, although only on Steam ships to get the minimum steam time, as well as steam recip and was awarded bits of paper. I have to say the most rewarding times I had at sea were on Motor ships with older machinary, Doxfords and B & W's being the most gartifying, probably due to the people as much as the machinary itself. They were hard working, hard playing ships and generally had a great bunch of poeple in the engine room as well as on deck. There was very little oil and water!!!

BlythSpirit
16th May 2007, 13:43
From a purely aesthetic point of view I hated steam turbine ships.
Nothing to sing you to sleep at night.

Marconi Sahib - I always thought Messrs Gordon and Schweppes managed to do the trick - I forget how many cylinders they packed!

K urgess
16th May 2007, 13:53
Not a gin man, BS. I remember the smell from empty bottles after my parents' parties.[=P]
Funnily enough didn't drink at sea above a couple of beers after last watch.
In port was a different matter altogether.
Joined one turbine ship at Liverpool late at night and woke up next morning in the middle of the Irish Sea. Didn't hear a thing whereas a Dox would've had me out of mi pit in a trice.[=P]

BlythSpirit
16th May 2007, 13:57
I can tell it was a lot more scary when everything went quiet in the middle of the night - the sound of turbine driven feed pumps tripping woke me every time!

Philthechill
16th May 2007, 14:49
For the ultimate buttock-clenching experience I reckon Cunards ACL ships "Atlantic Causeway" and "Atlantic Conveyor" took some beating! Two roof-fired Foster-Wheeler boilers operating at 900 p.s.i. and around 950F superheat certainly kept your mind on the job! Power was supplied by two miniscule AEI turbines whizzing round at 12500 r.p.m. driving the alternators! Feed-pumps were Weirs TWL (Turbine/Water-Lubricated)!!! The ultimate fiendishness was that the whole plot was automated to a very high degree and this was quite something! Rather than using electronic automation the powers-that-be went for pneumatic so, if you lost the air-supply, everything fell over! (In all fairness there were 3 air-compressors so total loss of air was extremely rare). However when things did fall over the resulting chaos happened very rapidly! One of the MOST memorable falling-overs was when the superheat safety-valve fell-off the main steam-pipe, on the for'd boiler on "Conveyor" when we were doing around 24 kts! Now THAT was an attention grabber! The noise in the control-room (about twenty feet away from the fallen-off safety-valve) was absolutely horrendous!!!! Yes sir! "Interesting" ships!!!

AlanTR
16th May 2007, 15:42
Sailed in all ranks up to and incl. 2nd Eng on Steam Turbine and 3rd, 2nd & Chief on Motor. Always preferred steam ships - the last one was for me was1975.

BlythSpirit
16th May 2007, 16:14
Not that we steam engineers didn't get dirty occasionally, but every time I went over to a motor ship to scrounge some kit, the white boiler suits the guys had were a long way away from white.

Phil Roes' comments re the ACL Atlantic boats were very similar to the early VLCCs I sailed on, I can remember the first time I saw a fully automated sootblowing set-up complete with electric motor drivers and an electronic control panel - I thought this is the life.(Thumb)

duggieslade
18th May 2007, 23:28
Probably just for the engineering department guys:

I never sailed on motor ships at all - my whole 13 years at sea were on steam turbine ships, (and tankers at that).

I just wondered what impressions and preferences are, from those of you who did sail on both motor and steam vessels.

I refused to go on motor ships while still on tankers as I always thought that the time in port was short anyway without burdening myself with main engine maintenance as well.

I am of course aware that many people thoroughly enjoyed their motor ship experiences but I would be interested to hear what people's preferences were.
hello,i have sailed on many steamships tankers obo gascarrier and only on 2 motorships give me steam any time

Duncan112
19th May 2007, 08:42
I had a very rounded education in both diciplines, although only on Steam ships to get the minimum steam time, as well as steam recip and was awarded bits of paper. I have to say the most rewarding times I had at sea were on Motor ships with older machinary, Doxfords and B & W's being the most gartifying, probably due to the people as much as the machinary itself. They were hard working, hard playing ships and generally had a great bunch of poeple in the engine room as well as on deck. There was very little oil and water!!!

Well said Dox,

I much preferred the old nails that were either watchkeeping or had lost their UMS certificate - much more social. My heart always went out to the 12/4 bridge watchkeepeer on the UMS ships - no one to talk to at 4 am.

Duncan

R58484956
19th May 2007, 13:01
Greetings AlanTR and a warm welcome to SN. Enjoy the site and all it has to offer. Bon voyage.

Steve Hodges
20th May 2007, 22:11
Probably just for the engineering department guys:

I never sailed on motor ships at all - my whole 13 years at sea were on steam turbine ships, (and tankers at that).

I just wondered what impressions and preferences are, from those of you who did sail on both motor and steam vessels.

I refused to go on motor ships while still on tankers as I always thought that the time in port was short anyway without burdening myself with main engine maintenance as well.

I am of course aware that many people thoroughly enjoyed their motor ship experiences but I would be interested to hear what people's preferences were.

Steam every time, as long as I didn't have to do the sootblowing by hand.

Im my time, BP eng.cadets did one trip each on motor and steam, then decided what they wanted to do after that. My first motor ship was a B&W - there seemed to be oil everywhere, and no space to work on anything. I took my tickets in steam, but actually had my last trip on an LB Doxford, with big mechanical scavenge pumps instead of turbochargers. It was so quiet it was like steam recip without a boiler, and I loved it. The only snag was crankcase inspections, done in a plastic boilersuit with hot lube oil raining down. You had to hit every nut with a hammer to check that it "rang" and wasn't loose. There were hundreds of them inside the beast, especially on the crosshead slides. I sweated so much I had to pour it out of my boots afterwards.

Steve

steviej
20th May 2007, 22:28
Steam every time, as long as I didn't have to do the sootblowing by hand.

Im my time, BP eng.cadets did one trip each on motor and steam, then decided what they wanted to do after that. My first motor ship was a B&W - there seemed to be oil everywhere, and no space to work on anything. I took my tickets in steam, but actually had my last trip on an LB Doxford, with big mechanical scavenge pumps instead of turbochargers. It was so quiet it was like steam recip without a boiler, and I loved it. The only snag was crankcase inspections, done in a plastic boilersuit with hot lube oil raining down. You had to hit every nut with a hammer to check that it "rang" and wasn't loose. There were hundreds of them inside the beast, especially on the crosshead slides. I sweated so much I had to pour it out of my boots afterwards.

Steve
I am sure that in a recent message that a steam man said that they were frozen on a motor ship obviously he did not sail on the same ship as Steve[=P]
steviej

JoK
20th May 2007, 22:50
That was me, I notice that not many of you went to the Arctic as regularly as I was going for awhile.

James_C
20th May 2007, 23:13
JoK,
We all had more sense to go the many Middle Eastern resorts instead!

LOL

BlythSpirit
10th October 2007, 15:44
I have noticed the huge response to the photo of the Doxford engine, and it has struck me that we steam engineers(of the turbine variety), didn't have any particular affection for our engines at all, probably because very few of us ever did any work on them - other than drain leaks etc. In thirteeen years at sea I was never involved with lifting the cover off steam turbines.
Mind that wasn't an unusual occurrance - I worked in Venezuala at Esso's old refinery in Amuay and the Parsons Turbines installed there in 1948 were as good as new in 1980!

makko
10th October 2007, 16:32
I am a Motor Man. I agree that it is the required maintenance that binds the crowd, hard work and hard play! As previously mentioned, I much prefer Watchkeeping to UMS. It is much more sociable.

I remember doing three majors (main engine cylinder maintenance) simultaneously in Venezuela, to ensure that we had plenty of "spare" time on the US coast. We started at 0700 and finished at about 1845. The whole team with black smudged faces and soaked in sweat and lube oil, climbing the ladders out of the ER like conquerors! (I remembered hard won rugby matches!)

It was especially memorable as, when we opened the alleyway door, there was a bunch of God squad people off an "Evangelical" vessel (Biblos?). They asked the 2/E if he had "heard" the word and thrust some books in his nostrils - He was a bluff Mancunian and his response unforgettable,

"You won't need to buy toilet paper from now on, son!"

"Why?", asked the naive and bemused Bible basher.

"Because your f##king a##e will wipe itself after I insert those books up your {hawse pipe}!", whereupon he pushed through the multitude, shouting:

"That was a good job today! Free bar, the beer's on me!".

Regards,

Dave

offcumdum sanddancer
10th October 2007, 19:12
Good story that, Makko! As my seatime was almost equally divided into steam and motorships, I will give you my impressions of both. As an apprentice/cadet with BP my first trip was on the Dragoon and then the Argosy when she was the flagship, and thought they were both fairly boring deep sea steam ships, and not very happy ships. second trip I joined the M/V British Commerce and what a culture shock that was, 9 cylinder B & W. Very hard main engine maintenance, but a much happier crowd of engineers. Possibly a case of work hard/play hard. Come next trip I joined the Bulldog as acting junior and was I suppose a bit apprehensive. There was in those days no choice of motor or steamships, you went where you were sent. After a 9 month trip I left the ship as acting fourth, having been a proper junior for all of three months. As the Bulldog was an old ship by that time, and most things were hand-o-matic (except the main boiler robots) you had to learn fast. I made my fair share of mistakes (but more of that later) Again it was probably a case of work hard/play hard, but she was much happier that my first experience of steamships.
Over the next seven years I sailed exclusively on steamships as fourth to second engineer before leaving them to do my first class steam ticket in '76. Coming back to sea on the Border Shepherd as extra third (on seconds pay, great) to get my motor time. Steam ships by this time were a shrinking breed in BP, so on getting my motor endorsement in '77 I sailed on motorships as second until we were all made redundant in '86 and promotion being non-existent and the children were growing up, I decided to leave. My last ship was the re-engined ex-steamship British Resource, laid up fully loaded off Brunei. She was both steam ship and motor ship as she kept her original boilers and one high pressure T/A, and 4 turbine cargo pumps, but also had a 6 cylinder Mitsui B & W engine, waste heat boiler and Scotch boiler for the low pressure turbo-alternator. Fortunately she also had a Mitsui full power diesel alternator.
So I was both a steam engineer and a motor one. (I did one trip on the THV Ready, a steam reciprocating lighthouse tender for Trinity House but that was an aberration, so I won't count that) Now, the original question was which did we who went on both, prefer? Well, I did prefer the coasting in product carrier motorships, but that was because they were coasting (load in Europe and discharge at possibly several ports in Europe and Scandinavia. Not at all what you dry cargo people would know as coasting) So it was not motor or steamships for me which decided preference, it was ship size, ships trade and happy/unhappy crew which would be the clinchers. Work could be just as hard on some hell ships of steamships too.

Irvingman
10th October 2007, 20:50
I have to agree with JOK here. (Thumb)

The boiler water tests were never done as carefully as when up the St Lawrence in winter - the only warm place to stand was at the test cabinet between the boliers! (Can't find a frozen smiley face!! :@ )

captkenn
10th October 2007, 23:41
Probably just for the engineering department guys:
I just wondered what impressions and preferences are, from those of you who did sail on both motor and steam vessels.

I would be interested to hear what people's preferences were.

The tanker that I spent most of my Deck apprenticeship on was the Sheaf Royal, a Motorship with a 6cyl opposed piston Doxford and with a Boiler Room containing three big Scotch Boilers*. The best of all worlds for someone like me who loves building model marine and static steam engines (not railway) and boilers. I also sailed with both Motor and Steam reciprocating and liked both. Despite usually living amidships you still awoke immediately they stopped. Never on a turbine.
* Before someone asks why. For all steam winches and cargo pumps and cargo heating coils

JoK
11th October 2007, 02:13
Ah, but on a steamer, especially a recip job you could sit in your cabin, listen to the condensor extration pumps and could tell that the recirc was on the condensors and that all of the feed temperatures were too low as a result, or:
You could tell by the same pumps that the duplex filters were plugged and needed cleaning.
After being there awhile, I could set the plant up, all manual adjustments, that you never had to adjust anything (until you started the bilge pump). But the ship had to be steaming for at least 20 hours to get everything warm.
Loved the plant, but she was unhappy. Especially at the end when word came out that she was done. People who rubbed together for years with no problems suddenly were at each other throats.
went to a steam turbine job after that-hated it passionately.