Your Best Repair While At Sea?

Ian J. Huckin
25th April 2009, 21:17
I was C/E on Lauritzen's Roman Reefer (early '92) in the middle of the Pacific when, without any drama, we lost steering. There were no alarms or any indications that anything was wrong. I went to the SF and saw that the whole rudder stock had dropped so that it was clear of the tiller keyway. No matter what the rams were doing nothing was being transmitted to the rudder.

The only ER staff I could rely on were my Sri Lankan 2/E, Kari, and my Scottish Mechanic, Brian. This was going to be a big job.

With everything stopped the first thing to do was secure the rudder from potentially dropping clean out because we did not know what the damage to the pintles were. Several chain blocks later we had the weight of the rudder secured.

On opening up the radial rudder support bearing it could be seen that it had completely broken up and, I would guess, had been sharing the weight of the rudder with the pintles until something gave out.

With no spare bearing the weight of the rudder had to be permanently, and effectively supported while allowing rotation, so here is what we did:

1..With the weight supported split the tiller and cut out all parts of the old bearing that could interfere with rotation
2..Shot the vertical centre line of the rudder stock up to the deck head of the SF then calculated where this would be up top
3..Calcs. showed the CL to be about 18" clear of the aft house so a pilot hole was drilled through to confirm.
4..With the rudder pulled almost (short by 1.5" - explain later) back up into the tiller a measurement was taken from the lifting eye bolt through the pilot hole to the after deck. Once this was established added 18" and asked the Philipino Bosun to splice up the heaviest wire strop he could, eyes at both ends.
5..Cut down an overhead crane rail in the purifier flat (8" 'I' beam), secured some 4" dia sched 80 pipe, scrounged up some 1" plate.
6..From the 'I' beam fabricated a cross shaped strong-back, heavily reinforced and gusseted. Welded a lug under the center portion to take a heavy shackle.
7..Up on deck cut and welded doublers to the deck to spread the weight of the legs which would support our strong-back and, hence, the weight of the rudder.
8..Fitted the newly made wire strop to the rudder (alongside the lifting gear we were already using) Enlarged our pilot hole to take the top eye of the strop at the same time welding a 4" tube half way through the deck to protect the wire.
9..Supported our strong-back on four 20 ton bottle jacks and fitted the top eye to the strong-back using a heavy shackle.
10..Sequentially extended the jacks until this lifting device took the weight of the rudder and re-positioned it.
11..Used a fifth jack to enable support of each span of the strong-back while the original jack was removed and a measured and cut length of sched 80 pipe was welded in its place at the doubler and at the strong-back.
12 With all legs in place and jacks removed bracing was added to prevent twisting.
13. Removed all lifting devices and gear from around the SG and, in hand, operated the helm 5 deg P &S and all seemed good. Did this a couple of times and at 15 degs P & S the twist in the wire lifted the rudder 1.5 " to the position where there was no more clearance between the rudder stock square and the tiller. Wire brushed and primed our support.
14..Handed it back to the Captain with instructions to steer in hand for the rest of our passage with 15 deg helm as max. Smooth sailing and you would not know the difference.

Made anchorage at Panama a few days late (the job took 42hours pretty much just cat-napping) and the Principle Surveyor of LRS came out to check the repair to allow us alongside.

Once alongside a repair squad was waiting and the bearing was changed. Appears the construction of the pintle would allow such an event if the bearing broke up. We were inches away from losing everything.

We also received a letter of commendation from LRS for the repair.

The picture of me with Kari on one side and Brian on the other is probably the most treasured photo of my time at sea.

Derek Roger
25th April 2009, 21:30
A very fine repair Chief .
Bet the old man was happy that he did not have to try some jury rig for steering .

And nice to see the pictures too . Full Marks too all . Regards Derek

Ian J. Huckin
25th April 2009, 22:04
Thanks Derek, I appreciate your comments.

Keri, Brian and myself also built a bar on this ship, will have to rustle up those pics too.

Bill Davies
25th April 2009, 22:14
Ian,

Excellent post.
Would have beena pleasure to have sailed with you.

Brgds

Bill

tsell
25th April 2009, 22:40
Hi Ian,

Thanks for sharing that with us.

Was deck crew myself but always appreciated the skill and ingenuity of the engineers when we were in trouble, which was frequently the case in the 50's on some of the old rust bucket tramps.

You can rightfully feel proud of yourself and your loyal E/R mates.

Cheers,

Taffy R556959

Philthechill
25th April 2009, 23:05
Ian! Excellent stuff! Worthy of the pen of Rudyard Kipling and no mistake! Can't think of a higher accolade than that!!!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

ROBERT HENDERSON
25th April 2009, 23:36
Really great work Ian, I have good jobs done by engineers even on coasters, fabricating something out of nothing when broken down at sea. I don't know if others agree but I think at sea engineers have to find a way around problems, whereas shoreside they can always put their hands on spares from some source or other.

Regards Robert

Ian J. Huckin
25th April 2009, 23:46
...I think at sea engineers have to find a way around problems, whereas shoreside they can always put their hands on spares from some source or other.

Regards Robert

Thanks Robert, and thanks to everybody else for their kind comments. I know we all have a story to tell so I guess we can sit back and wait for some really great posts to come...

Best wishes all

Ian (*))

david freeman
26th April 2009, 13:08
As an apprentice tank diving and the various designs one could put to cememt boxes relieved what was a tedious task in a smelly atmosphere

Beartracks
26th April 2009, 22:24
I was C/E on Lauritzen's Roman Reefer (early '92) in the middle of the Pacific when, without any drama, we lost steering. There were no alarms or any indications that anything was wrong. I went to the SF and saw that the whole rudder stock had dropped so that it was clear of the tiller keyway. No matter what the rams were doing nothing was being transmitted to the rudder.

The only ER staff I could rely on were my Sri Lankan 2/E, Kari, and my Scottish Mechanic, Brian. This was going to be a big job.

With everything stopped the first thing to do was secure the rudder from potentially dropping clean out because we did not know what the damage to the pintles were. Several chain blocks later we had the weight of the rudder secured.

On opening up the radial rudder support bearing it could be seen that it had completely broken up and, I would guess, had been sharing the weight of the rudder with the pintles until something gave out.

With no spare bearing the weight of the rudder had to be permanently, and effectively supported while allowing rotation, so here is what we did:

1..With the weight supported split the tiller and cut out all parts of the old bearing that could interfere with rotation
2..Shot the vertical centre line of the rudder stock up to the deck head of the SF then calculated where this would be up top
3..Calcs. showed the CL to be about 18" clear of the aft house so a pilot hole was drilled through to confirm.
4..With the rudder pulled almost (short by 1.5" - explain later) back up into the tiller a measurement was taken from the lifting eye bolt through the pilot hole to the after deck. Once this was established added 18" and asked the Philipino Bosun to splice up the heaviest wire strop he could, eyes at both ends.
5..Cut down an overhead crane rail in the purifier flat (8" 'I' beam), secured some 4" dia sched 80 pipe, scrounged up some 1" plate.
6..From the 'I' beam fabricated a cross shaped strong-back, heavily reinforced and gusseted. Welded a lug under the center portion to take a heavy shackle.
7..Up on deck cut and welded doublers to the deck to spread the weight of the legs which would support our strong-back and, hence, the weight of the rudder.
8..Fitted the newly made wire strop to the rudder (alongside the lifting gear we were already using) Enlarged our pilot hole to take the top eye of the strop at the same time welding a 4" tube half way through the deck to protect the wire.
9..Supported our strong-back on four 20 ton bottle jacks and fitted the top eye to the strong-back using a heavy shackle.
10..Sequentially extended the jacks until this lifting device took the weight of the rudder and re-positioned it.
11..Used a fifth jack to enable support of each span of the strong-back while the original jack was removed and a measured and cut length of sched 80 pipe was welded in its place at the doubler and at the strong-back.
12 With all legs in place and jacks removed bracing was added to prevent twisting.
13. Removed all lifting devices and gear from around the SG and, in hand, operated the helm 5 deg P &S and all seemed good. Did this a couple of times and at 15 degs P & S the twist in the wire lifted the rudder 1.5 " to the position where there was no more clearance between the rudder stock square and the tiller. Wire brushed and primed our support.
14..Handed it back to the Captain with instructions to steer in hand for the rest of our passage with 15 deg helm as max. Smooth sailing and you would not know the difference.

Made anchorage at Panama a few days late (the job took 42hours pretty much just cat-napping) and the Principle Surveyor of LRS came out to check the repair to allow us alongside.

Once alongside a repair squad was waiting and the bearing was changed. Appears the construction of the pintle would allow such an event if the bearing broke up. We were inches away from losing everything.

We also received a letter of commendation from LRS for the repair.

The picture of me with Kari on one side and Brian on the other is probably the most treasured photo of my time at sea.

Ian.............................

I'm drafting a Course to certify QMEDs (Qualified Members of the Engine Department) for service aboard ocean going US Merchant ships as well as Tugs , Great Lakes and rivers inland. The USA signed the law of the sea treaty and all training must be in accordance with IMO standards. I agreed to draft the syllabus for the course if I could teach same and it looks as if my first group will form in about three months or so. I want to give your Rudder Repair Paper to all my fledgling Marine Engineer candidates as it epitomizes what the final result of dedicated study and training can produce in the form of a Ships Engineer. A truly well written and inspiring tale that makes me take pride in my chosen profession and wish I had been shipmates with you in past years.

Very Respectfully;
Hugh Curran aka Beartracks

Derek Roger
26th April 2009, 22:59
Good luck Hugh with your lads .
Ians dilemma and his fix can not be taught as it is the situation and the measure of the person and his dedication to making a "Fix " that made this one work .
If you can impress to your lads the importance of " thinking out of the box " and using all that they will have at hand will be of great importance to them .

Regards Derek

Ian J. Huckin
27th April 2009, 00:52
Ian.............................

I'm drafting a Course to certify QMEDs (Qualified Members of the Engine Department) for service aboard ocean going US Merchant ships as well as Tugs , Great Lakes and rivers inland. The USA signed the law of the sea treaty and all training must be in accordance with IMO standards. I agreed to draft the syllabus for the course if I could teach same and it looks as if my first group will form in about three months or so. I want to give your Rudder Repair Paper to all my fledgling Marine Engineer candidates as it epitomizes what the final result of dedicated study and training can produce in the form of a Ships Engineer. A truly well written and inspiring tale that makes me take pride in my chosen profession and wish I had been shipmates with you in past years.

Very Respectfully;
Hugh Curran aka Beartracks

G'day Hugh,

It would be my absolute pleasure to help the new generations of Marine Engineers. The job and conditions may have changed over the years but the dangers and the need to "think on your feet" will always be the same....

Also would like to thank you for your kind words....I'm sort of overwhelmed by the response, I was just wanting to read other peoples experiences really.

I do have another good repair yarn but will wait 'till other people post theirs.

Best wishes,

Ian

tell
27th April 2009, 01:54
MV Avon Venturer ex Cliona of Shell had german engineers and they were conducting fuel injection experiments on her, we were homeward bound from Mena when a cylinder blew up, we transported a new cylinder from the forehatch and swapped it with the damaged one whilst we were at sea , The Skipper was so pleased he doubled our overtime and marked it in red ink on our accounts of wages. I may add she had twin Burmeister Wain engines

K urgess
27th April 2009, 11:19
G'day Hugh,

It would be my absolute pleasure to help the new generations of Marine Engineers. The job and conditions may have changed over the years but the dangers and the need to "think on your feet" will always be the same....

Also would like to thank you for your kind words....I'm sort of overwhelmed by the response, I was just wanting to read other peoples experiences really.

I do have another good repair yarn but will wait 'till other people post theirs.

Best wishes,

Ian

It's not often that rudders try to fall off or anyone has to do jury-rigged jobs like that, Ian. Except perhaps during wartime.
An excellent example of engineers at their best.
Makes Aralditing a radar scanner back on small potatoes. (Sad)
The only similair thing I've heard of was fitting the spare propeller to a tanker in the Gulf of Guinea using ship's gear only. Not a ship I was on, I hasten to add.
Of course, our amazing membership will now prove me totally wrong. Again (Ouch)

Cheers
Kris

gordy
27th April 2009, 12:22
May I add my congratulations to Ian on a wonderful write up on a remarkable tale of ships engineers at their best.
I think a former shipmate said it all when he stated that the best thing about being an engineer was being able to make something out of nothing!

Thanks again Ian
Gordy

Fieldsy
27th April 2009, 14:37
Oner of the main engine turbo chargers was making such screaming noises we quickly shut the engine down. Investigations discovered that the turbine had thrown a blade. No possibilty of replacing it so we had to try and balance the turbine (for non-engineers, anything turning at up to 10,000 rpm will shake itself to death if only slightly out of balance).
The 2/E jokingly made a comment about the number of blades being such that removing others wouldn't produce a balance. How right he was - 59 blades. No combination of removing opposed blades would produce a balanced turbine. We took out one almost opposite the missing blade and carried on for Canada at slow revs - speed determined by the amount of vibration from the turbo.

Nothing particularly inventive about our solution. Just making the point that sometimes, whatever the creativity in the engine room, there isn't a possible solution.

PS
We sent a small cadet into the exhaust uptake from the turbo, in case the missing blade was lodged somewhere and might fall back into the turbine. He found nothing. About ten minutes later he started to squirm and said he was burning. We quickly realised that sulpher inside the uptake was on his overalls and his sweating was turning it to acid. We had to get him out of the engine room and into a shower immediately. Fortunately, he suffered nothing more that a slight rash. When he washed his boiler suit, it pretty much dissolved!

Ian J. Huckin
27th April 2009, 18:04
Makes Aralditing a radar scanner back on small potatoes. (Sad)
Cheers
Kris

G'day Kris and Gordy,

I really appreciate your comments, and it perhaps brings relevance to why the photo of Kari, Brian and myself means so much to me.

Kris, how about word associations???

From your quote above..I'm thinking radar, makes me think of radar gearbox makes me think of a stripped gear and potatoes makes me think of galley, makes me think of Hobart dough mixer makes me think of dough mixer gearbox.......you got it...fixed radar with parts from the Hobart!!!!

And Araldite??? Sorry I was brought up on Thistlebond(==D)

Fieldsy - This is the sort of story that goes somewhere towards explaining what a special breed Seaman are. Whether it is an engineer balancing out a T/C, a deck crew having to secure shifting General cargo in a storm, Radio Officer having to re-build a transmitter by raiding parts from other equipment or a galley crew having to do their best to improvise a meal from junk in heavy weather...we all have our stories. Thanks for yours...

Thanks again...Ian

K urgess
27th April 2009, 18:13
S'alright if you have the appropriate bread dough mixer available, Ian. [=P]
Most of my problems were with loose scanners due to vibration.
Araldite held together the De Havilland Mosquito. (Thumb)
I imagine Thistlebond held together a lot of the ships I was on. (Gleam)
Cheers
Kris

Fieldsy
27th April 2009, 18:25
Forgot to mention that we had a replacement turbine air freighted to us in Canada. It was crated and when it arrived at the ship it was rigged for loading on board via the stores crane. The canvas slings slipped as the crate was over the dock - about 20 hearts were in mouths (and the mate visualising his p45) when the slings stopped slipping. The entire crate was hanging skewiff and it was just about brought inboard before it fell out of the slings altogether.
A very close call.

duquesa
27th April 2009, 19:04
Small cadets seem to have been used for everything!!(EEK)

Ian J. Huckin
27th April 2009, 20:49
Small cadets seem to have been used for everything!!(EEK)

I seem to remember swapping one (Martin Hammond) for some washing machine spares when a sister ship berthed nearby!!!!

gordy
27th April 2009, 23:07
I think one of the most satisfying jobs was on my last offshore installation, an FPSO. We had a sonar unit which we lowered down the centre of the mooring turret to check the 8 anchor chains. This was done after rough weather or on a 3 monthly routine. About the middle of the afternoon we were performing the task and the unit would not lower down below the water level. We tried it 3 times and brought it back up to find it had been damaged by heavy contact with something. Looking down the moon pool like access into the gloom, (no lighting) I thought I saw a large black shiny object moving around on the surface. A seal? With the vessel rolling a bit I was sure I could hear a heavy banging. It now looked more like a very large wooden keel block. I got the deck foreman up for a look, (ex Bosun from Sunderland), and our stand in shift supervisor, a Tiffy from Wick. The D/F got a heaving line + hook and he lassoed it 1st go! 4 of us sweated and got the thing up on deck through the 1 metre tube it had got itself jammed in. This tube had a gap of about 2 metres at the water line so that's how it must have got in while we were riding high.
The sonar head was well knackered but our tiffy remembered the OIM (Offshore Installation Manager) had one mounted on his office bulkhead on a mahogany frame. It had originally been lost when the securing fixing parted and assumed to be gone forever on the sea bed. But, some divers had found it and presented it, mounted, to the OIM! (It's about 8" long by 2" dia). Our intrepid tiffy opened it up and reckoned the bits he need might work with what was left of our damaged one. It did! And we got our sonar scan and all our anchor chains were where they were meant to be.
I can appreciate what Ian says about the feelings for his shipmates.
That job we did, all from our own ideas, performed unseen by gaffers, as we were up in the bow out of sight and out of mind, without permits, safety plans, and no other hindrances will always go down as one of my most satisfying. The deck foreman said it was the best fun he'd had offshore(Jester)
No names here as my 3 trusty colleagues are still on the vessel(EEK)

Beartracks
27th April 2009, 23:22
A fair number of years ago I recall walking into the Machine Shop of the Stephan W. Pless a large steam powered combination RO RO , Container and Tanker Combination Vessel on (and still on) long term Charter to the US Navy. Some one had gone to considerable effort to Fabricate a sign which was then hung prominently above the big lathe. The sign read.

"WE CAN FIX ANYTHING SAVE THE CRACK OF DAWN OR A BROKEN HEART"

THE SHIP'S ENGINEERS

Upon retirement I took that sign and it now is on the bulkhead in my living room in Maine.

Respectfully;
Hugh Curran aka Beartracks

TonyAllen
27th April 2009, 23:22
Mr Hukin

As a non engineer the thing I think was most impressive was that to a lay man the repair did not look like a repair at all but part of the deck stucture, it was a credit to your inteligence and training and the simple way that you explained it.Its a pity that the deck crew did not paint the bulkheads to enhance your work.My very best regards to you Tony Allen

eldersuk
28th April 2009, 00:38
I think everyone has participated in a memorable repair at some time. Mine was on a Doxford and is detailed on Page 3 of 'Doxford Opposed Piston' in the Ships Engines and Mechanics section of the gallery.

Derek

surfaceblow
28th April 2009, 01:24
While not my best repair at sea it made me feel good for a little while. I was on the Marine Reliance when I got a call from the Captain to come up on the bridge while we were maneuvering out of Tokyo Bay. The Helms man was having to use two hands to turn the wheel and there was a squeaking noise going along with the turning. The pilot was getting nervous with each squeak. I suggested changing over to the non follow up switches which the Captain shot down stating he did not know how it will react. I tried to explain how the steering stand worked. That the wheel turned the angle indicator just like a turner on a radio and the cam pressed down on a switch for right or left. Since I could not turn the lights on to see and the Captain did not want to go to non follow up I left. In the morning I carried the biggest mallet from the engine room to the bridge. When I passed the Captains office with the mallet the Captain hurried himself up to the bridge to witness me hitting the wheel back in place 1/8 of an inch and oiling the sleeve bearing. I found out that the bearing was suppose to be oiled quarterly and it was never oiled.
The next few weeks there were Steering Gear Drills.

steamer659
19th May 2009, 04:21
As with Chief Surfaceblow- not my best, but certainly wild- SS Ocean Runner (Ex Massachusetts) a medium size VLCC; we had the #2 Main Cargo Pump Suction Pipe pull out of the pump suction flange (I remember this as being a very large line-72"?) anyway, I was 1st A/E, rounded up EVERY piece of wood and every nail on the ship and blocked up a form from the tanktop to the top of the pump suction flange under the pump using the pump foundation as ends (horizontal pump) and proceeded to have the pumpman and the deckies mix up 37 sacks of ready mix in five gallon pails and lower it down to us in the bottom of the pump room (10 stories?) It worked- the next time I see my buddy as Chief loading 50 bags of ready mix in a place lijke Khorfakkan- I'm going to run like hell!!!!!

Macphail
19th May 2009, 19:04
LPG/C Hekabe. February 1998. Ballast Voyage: Ulsan to Kenai.
Sailing from Korea to Alaska in the winter, south of the Aleutian Islands, one can only expect very stormy weather, but on this occasion the El Nino weather condition was forecasted, which is a series of hurricanes.
The ship sailed into very stormy weather on Saturday evening, 40 foot plus waves and horizontal heavy snow, engine over-speeding and cutting out, 30 to 45 degree rolls.
Sunday 22nd February 1998
0030 hours Main Engine stopped due to a fault on the controls. Changed over amplifier pump. Main Engine on reduced speed and manual control due to over-speeding. Vessel started to roll excessively with equipment getting thrown about.
0300 hours approx...
The vessel pitched and rolled very heavily.
A very loud thud and crashing sound was heard from the ford part of the engine room. Jacket cooling pressure was lost and the engine stopped.
The fire alarms sounded. I left the control room and observed that the main jacket water cooling inlet pipe was damaged beyond repair with steam and water emitting from the broken ends. The ford spare cylinder cover weighing, 3 tons , (Stowed above the top plates.), had sheared the retaining studs and made it’s way to the bottom plates, wrecking all pipes and fittings in it’s path and ending up imbedded in the spare intercooler below the bottom floor plates, the intercooler prevented it from going through the ship’s bottom. All engine room staff was called to the engine room. The second engineer, fourth engineer and wiper started attaching additional chain blocks to the spare cylinder covers stowed outside the workshop. The vessel rolled again very heavily and the chain blocks failed.
The covers started sliding rapidly from port to starboard. The fourth engineer slipped and fell in the path of a cover. The second engineer pulled him clear but not completely. The cover struck the fourth engineer on the lower part of his body. The second engineer and wiper carried him to the stores flat. The stretcher party were called out and he was transferred to the hospital. Started to remove the damaged pipe work. Obtained a flexible cargo hose from the deck. Started to manufacture reducers and fittings. Working under very difficult and dangerous condition's due to the vessel rolling 45 to 50° .The flexible pipe was fitted to the engine and pressure tested, it was then noted that three vent pipes were leaking .The damaged sections were replaced with fire hose. The damaged ford auxi blower ducting was sealed and lashed up with PVC sheet.
2000hrs Vessel got underway at slow ahead due to the restricted inside diameter of the flexible pipe thus causing a reduced cooling water flow to the cylinders.
The repair was a good one and saved the ship from going on the rocks.
Monday 23rd February 1998
0010 hours I was leaving the engine room and in a cross alley, the ship rolled right over to Port, the cross alley became a vertical wall, I fell on my back and went like a sledge on the highly polished cross alley deck, impacted with great speed against the port bulkhead, four broken ribs and a fractured scapula, out of the game, Second Engineer in charge.
1200 hours. Fourth engineer off by USCG helicopter.
Tuesday 24th February 1998
1300 hours. Chief engineer off by USCG helicopter.
The ship limped into Dutch Harbour and repairs where carried out, Chief and Fourth Engineer made a full recovery.

John.

Ian J. Huckin
20th May 2009, 21:21
[QUOTE=Macphail;323367]LPG/C Hekabe. February 1998. Ballast Voyage: Ulsan to Kenai.
Sailing from Korea to Alaska in the winter, south of the Aleutian Islands....

John,

There are several reasons your story makes my hair (both of them!) stand on end:

1..I live on an Island out in the Gulf of Alaska, I know many people who do the "World's most Dangerous Catch" thing out north and south of the Alutic chain. I fully understand how gross the weather can be and it is so desperate when you get into trouble. Kodiak has Americas largest USCG base and they are always out, no matter what the weather.

2..With Chiquita one of the container ships dropped a spare liner onto the cyl heads during a storm. She limped into port somehow. The reefer I was on took over her charter. Loaded north bound to Bremerhaven from Equador we got into a hurricane and, at one stage, the ship rolled violently over 50 deg to Stbd. Two crew member were in the cross alleyway and they went down on their backs and slid the whole width of the ship only to hit the storm door with the backs of their heads. I was first one there and could not save either of them. Their head and neck injuries were absolutely horrendous. After reading the autopsy reports neither could have been saved but it did not really help me.

3..The initial feeling of desperation that then gets pushed to one side by the rush of adrenalin is somehow indicative of who we are and why we do it. At sea I have only ever seen one person who truly paniced, all others knuckled down to the task, throwing up and keeping one eye on the nearest escape route or trying to figure out where to go if everything was upside down.

Cudos to you mate for being the glue that kept the fear from taking hold. The wonder of it all is when you come out of that storm and look in the eyes of your men and know that for even the ones you would not have time for ashore you feel nothing but respect for getting through a bad situation intact together.

I go home every night now I am ashore and I don't often think about those darker days except when I hear the USCG chopper flying out on a terrible winter night and I know there are sailors out there at that very instant going through their own hell...I pray for them.

Great story John, for many reasons.

Ian

Macphail
20th May 2009, 22:36
Ian,
It was a very hairy time, I have always had a great respect for the USCG, maybe not the ship owners friend, but the seafarers friend 100%.
The doc who was looking after me in Anchorage, O'Malley,James MD, was a character, very old Alaskian family, a mountain was named after the family just behind Anchorage. Thanks for your comments.
John.

jg grant
17th June 2009, 11:10
I remember it well. RFA Retainer 1959/60. We got extra money for something if we were East of Suez and West of Panama. Anyway, my faithfull wranglers suffered F2(fabric fatigue) ,at the knees.What to do? Carefully I sliced through the stitching of the pockets with a single edge razor. Then I stitched the pockets over the frayed knees with a kind of carpet stitch. This got me home after about a year of wearing wranglers with no pockets on the ass but two in front which were unuseable. I regret that I have no idea as to their demise. Typical, so callous. Regards to all Ronnie

binliner
15th July 2009, 23:26
while my repair can in no way match some of the wonderful deeds done by previous members it is in own way very neccessary and life saving.
we ran out of CO2 for our bar (Bencairn) homeward bound just heading into the Indian Ocean--the thought of 6 weeks without a cold draught beer-- the "cairn" had been a fridge ship in a previous life and had a massive amount of redundant CO2 fire fighting bottles pressurised to 2000psi for some reason--to cut a long story short dragged one of these huge bottles to the bar and using every reducing valve we could find managed to reduce the pressure to a usable level-- cold draught beer with a slight aroma that became acceptable after a few pints. we were still using the same bottle when we arrived in London for payoff.

dave4e
1st September 2009, 00:44
Best repair ive heard of was the guys on the QE2 who used a hydraulic accumulator bladder to fix a failed sea water pipe. The bladder was inserted into the pipe and inflated.
MAIB report makes for good reading and a more detailed description of how they got the bladder into the pipe, quick thinking and some very nice fabrication work certainly saved the day on that occasion.

Beartracks
20th September 2009, 02:25
I thought it appropriate to paste this relocation of a voyage made in a Liberty Tramp with a coal cargo for War ravaged Europe. I got the story from a recent copy of the Seafarers Log which is the Monthly News Letter for the Unlicensed Maritime Unions in the USA. Reading it brought back memories of "swinging a buttonset" (ten pound maul) in 110 degree engine spaces while keying up on poured babbited bearings that we had moulded and scrapped for a proper oil clearance. No body in the Black Gang was a fatty in those days . Perhaps some entrepreneur could duplicate such efforts today and sell it as a quick weight losing program to today's jaded overweight Yanks and Europeans? I look back on those days with loving memories and would to quote Kipling "Trade my tired soul for the bucking deep sea roll of a rusty old Bilbao Tramp". Oh to be young once more.

Respectfully
Hugh Curran aka Beartracks

Modern Saga Triggers Shipboard Memories
Retiree Legere Recalls Difficult 1946 Voyage Aboard Liberty Ship
September 2009 -- Current Issue

Editor’s note: The following story and accompanying photos were submitted by retiree Joseph R. Legere, who sailed with both the NMU and SIU beginning in the mid-1940s. Brother Legere also shared some of his shipboard memories in an article that was published in the May 2008 edition of the Seafarers LOG. These are his recently written memories of a voyage that took place 63 years ago, so any mistakes in the details need not be brought to his attention.

A few months ago, I followed the news about the Maersk Alabama and was glad to see the situation ended right for our mariners and ship. I sailed no more after May 1953 and was kind of in awe at how much a merchant crew had “downsized” since then.

Enclosed is a photo of one Liberty ship I sailed on from June to August of 1946: the SS Newton D. Baker. We had a crew of 36 from the captain on down and were sailing two men short (one ordinary seaman and one wiper). The Liberty was a smaller ship than the Maersk Alabama by about 68 feet and 25 feet less at beam (and tonnage displacement about 2,755 less). Of the 10 ships I sailed on, this was the only one for which I recorded crew names, and this was the only trip I made in her.

Enclosed also is a copy of ship’s discharge and a photo of me and the one wiper. I’m the skinny guy – just turned 18 two days before signing on the ship. I also had registered for the draft in Baltimore.

The SS Newton D. Baker was my fifth ship sailing as fireman/watertender or oiler (mostly fireman/watertender). Starting Sept. 15, 1944 in a maritime school in St. Petersburg, Fla., I was sailing through NMU halls the first six ships. The seventh through 10th ships I was with the SIU. Between the sixth and seventh ships I came ashore and worked for Florida Power and Light Co. in south Florida for a few years, in their steam electric power stations.

But, back to the Liberty ship. We loaded a full load of coal for Aarhus, Denmark. A Dane took the photo of our ship in port, then came aboard and sold the photos to us.

The SS Baker was operated by Luckenbach Steamship Co. Our trip over went well – we had to stop at the Orkney Islands to get a chart on areas of the North Sea that were cleared of mines. We then went to Denmark.

I guess it was the next day or so, I was the fireman/watertender on the 4-to-8 watch. It was just after 7 a.m. and I was looking forward to eggs, potatoes, toast and coffee. Suddenly, I smelled smoke. At first, I thought it could be galley smoke, but it didn’t smell like coal smoke. (All Liberty ships came out of the yards with coal-burning cook stoves.) It turned out that the smoke wasn’t coming from the galley but instead from the back end of the triple expansion steam engine!

I yelled for the first engineer – my watch engineer. He came from port side, the boiler feed pump and main circulation pump area. He grabbed the throttle valve to the main engine and slowed it to dead slow. I had to cut out fires in both boilers, save one in each. After doing this, I looked closer and saw the smoke was coming from the L.P. crosshead bearing.

As the engine kept moving (slowly going up and down), the chief engineer came down and called up to the captain, informing him we had to stop the engine to fix it – and that it could be done at sea. Keep in mind we were in the North Sea going with wind and current among possible floating mines, with 10,000 tons of coal aboard.

The captain put out “extra eyes” to scan the choppy sea for mines. I had no idea what could be done if any were spotted; the Navy already had taken the guns off. The captain may have had an Army .45 caliber pistol.

Fortunately, there was not any of that kind of excitement. A lot of action took place in the engine room, though. Before stopping the main engine, the auxiliary steam condenser had to be put in service along with all auxiliary steam operating pumps and steam engine drive generators. The exhaust steam from this equipment had to be switched over to auxiliary steam condenser and out of the main condenser. The main engine jacking gear was engaged so the L.P. crosshead came up to a position where men could get wrenches on nuts to dismantle the bearing. The bearing in question was the L.P. crosshead inboard bearing.

The cause? Back during the war, rags were hard to come by, so textile companies pressed up in bundles floor sweepings called “waste.” These were used on ships as rags. In the engine room, we would tear a hunk of this stuff off the bundle to wipe oil off of our hands, but it wasn’t like a rag. This stuff would come apart and fall away in pieces. A chunk of it was found in the bottom of an oil cup plugging up oil flow to that LP inboard bearing. We were very lucky it didn’t fall into the oil cup to the inboard L.P. crank pin bearing. Chief Engineer Lewis M. Free and his engineers made that repair in about five hours.

We made Aarhus okay, but unloading the coal took some time. It came aboard by conveyor belts in Baltimore. Now, it was unloaded by a single bucket crane on dockside rails, one hold at a time. This was a nice sea port – pretty country, clean, and the people were very nice and friendly.

The ship came home with no payload but all the while, we burned 30 tons a day of fuel. About two days’ travel time west of England, an auxiliary steam line from the port boiler blew out a gasket at a flanged joint on the bulkhead, forward side of the port boiler at catwalk level, just above the floor plates. Chief Engineer Free told the captain it had to be fixed – this line fed the engine’s running DC generators. He told the captain we could return to port in England and lose that sea time (by running back) or let him and his engineers repair the line at sea. He said they could repair it, but we would be dead in the water with no generators (no lights).

The captain gave the go-ahead to kill the plant. The next morning the engine was shut down and all auxiliary pumps and generators secured. The boilers were secured and bottled up with a full head of steam. The weather was fantastic for the North Atlantic – much better than our North Sea shutdown. Liberty ships had no diesel engine generators, so work was done by flashlight.

Chief Free had prepared a fired-up blacksmith forge that was in the tool locker, using coal from the cook’s coal bin, and had it down in the fire room floor plates. When the bolts were removed from the flanged joint, the line sprung apart several inches. He took out a length of this pipe and down to the floor plates where the forge was. He heated it until he could bend it and put an offset bend in the pipe so that faces of flanges came together more “true,” installed new gaskets and bolted together the flanged joints. He opened the steam stop valves on the boilers and brought the engine room back to life. We were under way again before lunch.

And that was my one trip aboard the SS Newton D. Baker. Needless to say, I thought she should have been called Jonah. At least she brought me back to Baltimore, my “home” port even though I lived in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Shipping was very good back in Baltimore in 1945, 1946 and 1947. By 1952-53 shipping had slowed a bit and crews had shortened some. There was talk of cutting the steward-department crew. Now, more people must be doing other jobs in “dual hat” positions.

POSTED BY BEARTRACKS AT 19:46 0 COMMENTS

gordy
20th September 2009, 09:20
Fabulous!

price
20th September 2009, 17:52
In praise of a Ch/eng. and his 2nd. who saved what could have been a life or death situation many years ago. One night just before Christmas having sailed from Aberdeen in ballast into an easterly near gale, we broke down a few miles to the east of Girdleness, by this time the wind had increased to gale force. For many hours the two engineers worked feverishly under difficulties trying to solve the problem while the ship was drifting perilously closer to Girdleness, I seem to remember that there was an ingress of water into the main engine, probably through the turbo blower, I forget the details now, however they finally made a temporary repair and the ch/eng. warned that if he could start the engine, we could only have half speed ahead, and no other movements and if the engine was stopped that was it. We warned Aberdeen who gave us permission to enter and told us that Point Law was clear. As soon as we got into the entrance we stopped engines and luckily the ship handled beautifully and we approached a clear Point Law, still going a little too fast, with a prayer, I tried a kick astern in order to bring her alongside and as sweet as a nut she responded. Arthur Birch was the ch/eng. I could have kissed him.
Bruce.

doric
16th October 2009, 11:58
1. On Dominion Monarch in the 1950's on one of four doxfords, a piston was
replaced at sea.

2. During the Royal Commonwealth Tour on the Royal Yacht Gothic, as we
departed Auckland after Christmas, for Wellington, we "bent a rotor" in
one of the engines. this was closed off.

We then visited Wellington, Bluff, Milford Sound, and Sydney. A rotor
was removed from our sister ship, the Ceramic, in London and sent to Sydney, where it
was fitted, at Garden Island, so not at sea, prior to our voyage to Hobart, with H.M. Queen
& Royal Household aboard

Regards Terence Williams R538301.(A)

Ian J. Huckin
6th May 2010, 20:46
Hey it's me back again after a lull due to changing job and job location.

Here is another decent repair:

Was 2/E on a 30,000 ton bulk carrier working the seasonal Great Lakes trade. Hamworthy air air compressors that were high maintenance and unreliable took a beating on the repeated lock transits and all the engine moves. Eventually one gave up with a broken HP piston. We were up-bound to Duluth and managed to clear Soo Locks on the one remaining comp.

Had 24hrs to fix the busted comp. with no spares. So stripped the head off, took the rod out and proceeded to make a new piston out of one of the spare tailshaft bolts. Made piston rings out of a suitable sized piece of MS pipe. (CI would have been better but.....)

Made a new gudgeon pin out of high tensile bolt and put a ground finish on it by clamping an electric hand grinder to the tool post in the lathe and running it up and down the new pin with automatic feed engaged.

Made a new gudgeon pin bush from a piece of brass and assembled it all. Was a bit out of balance but performed admirably getting alongside where spares awaited us.

Got a right bollocking for using a tailshaft bolt as they are part of LRS minimum spares to carry....ah well.....

More stories if anybody is interested....

eldersuk
6th May 2010, 23:50
Quote......"Got a right bollocking for using a tailshaft bolt as they are part of LRS minimum spares to carry....ah well....."

I used a spare tailshaft bolt to make a governor drive for an Allen gennie.
I didn't get a bollocking - didn't tell anyone. (Until now........ssssshhhhhhhh)

Derek

chadburn
7th May 2010, 16:17
Hey it's me back again after a lull due to changing job and job location.

Here is another decent repair:

Was 2/E on a 30,000 ton bulk carrier working the seasonal Great Lakes trade. Hamworthy air air compressors that were high maintenance and unreliable took a beating on the repeated lock transits and all the engine moves. Eventually one gave up with a broken HP piston. We were up-bound to Duluth and managed to clear Soo Locks on the one remaining comp.

Had 24hrs to fix the busted comp. with no spares. So stripped the head off, took the rod out and proceeded to make a new piston out of one of the spare tailshaft bolts. Made piston rings out of a suitable sized piece of MS pipe. (CI would have been better but.....)

Made a new gudgeon pin out of high tensile bolt and put a ground finish on it by clamping an electric hand grinder to the tool post in the lathe and running it up and down the new pin with automatic feed engaged.

Made a new gudgeon pin bush from a piece of brass and assembled it all. Was a bit out of balance but performed admirably getting alongside where spares awaited us.

Got a right bollocking for using a tailshaft bolt as they are part of LRS minimum spares to carry....ah well.....

More stories if anybody is interested....

This quote should be read after some of the rubbish posted on "Is this man An Engineer" as this is what Marine Engineer's excel at and why they are held in such high regard in the engineering world, having the ability to improvise to keep the ship/things going (when there are NO SPARES) but other equipment can be "converted"(Thumb)

roboted
7th May 2010, 18:32
This quote should be read after some of the rubbish posted on "Is this man An Engineer" as this is what Marine Engineer's excel at and why they are held in such high regard in the engineering world, having the ability to improvise to keep the ship/things going (when there are NO SPARES) but other equipment can be "converted"(Thumb)

Hear Hear (Applause)

But also all the other repair tales on here.....

Ian J. Huckin
8th May 2010, 20:28
This quote should be read after some of the rubbish posted on "Is this man An Engineer" as this is what Marine Engineer's excel at and why they are held in such high regard in the engineering world, having the ability to improvise to keep the ship/things going (when there are NO SPARES) but other equipment can be "converted"(Thumb)

Way I mun! (Thumb)

funnelstays
15th June 2010, 03:19
Best repair ive heard of was the guys on the QE2 who used a hydraulic accumulator bladder to fix a failed sea water pipe. The bladder was inserted into the pipe and inflated.
MAIB report makes for good reading and a more detailed description of how they got the bladder into the pipe, quick thinking and some very nice fabrication work certainly saved the day on that occasion.

I sailed with one of the the engineers and his nickname was the balloon.

tom roberts
15th June 2010, 18:31
Maybe this comes under keeping a vessel moving, but I heard a story about the late Capt ,Harry Trainor of Harrisons who when broken down rigged jury sails out of hatch tarps and even had the lifeboats sails up if anyone out there can veryfy this as true, then to me that must be the the ultimate subject of this thread.

stoker
17th June 2010, 12:52
Well done Ian,reading your post brought a smile to my face, but I can still remember what 48 hrs. without sleep does to you, the visits from the Skipper "to see how things are coming on" and the anxious waiting to see if it works. Thanks for sharing the memories and the photos.

Ian J. Huckin
17th June 2010, 21:17
Well done Ian,reading your post brought a smile to my face, but I can still remember what 48 hrs. without sleep does to you, the visits from the Skipper "to see how things are coming on" and the anxious waiting to see if it works. Thanks for sharing the memories and the photos.

Thanks Stoker, I appreciate that. I'm just proud to be sharing all of the stuff that we all went through, some good, some bad but always recalled with a sense of pride...even busting out of prison in Puerto Sagunto....but that's another story.......................................

michael charters
18th June 2010, 01:26
Repairs to Engine speed govenor, flew apart in heavy seas on sagamore ORE CARRIER. tHE ENGINEERS WORKed WONDERs making new one on ship's lathe. A miracle!
Not under command in the south atlantic for several watches.

steamer659
19th June 2010, 02:54
What a Repair Ian..

steamer659
19th June 2010, 02:57
Oh by the way Ian- GREAT JOB CHIEF !

Ian J. Huckin
14th August 2010, 14:31
O.K. lads, a little quiet here on this thread so here is one more for your review and comment.

The ship was the ex Lauritzen's Roman Reefer. The disaster was........well, there was no bar on the ship. The fix??? convert the old Apprentice Training Classroom into a first class sleaze bar, as quoted in "Blues Brothers" A two bit sleazy dive!

It worked out just fine. Please note though, and refer to Post 1 in this thread, that it is the same three of us doing all the work, well, we did all the drinking too......

Oh, just remembered....the previous C/E had lost the reefer plant and a cargo of frozen chickens was condemned. The surveyers report stated that the majority of the chickens were "floppy" . So we named the bar....."The Floppy Chick Inn"

japottinger
19th October 2010, 16:28
Crossing the Indian Ocean on SS Maihar on voyage 94 one of the distance make up pieces between the top and bottom halves of the LP conn. rod bottom ends slipped out a bit and shattered as it hit the sides of the bedplate as it whirled (?)round at usual 61RPM.
These packers were outside the bottom end bolt with a scallop in the centre on the inboard side to clear the bott. end bolt.
Luckily we had a spare, but alas alack it was too long to fit between the crank webs. Nothing for it to hacksaw a couple of inches off each end, each being about 3 x2 ins section cast iron.
We took it in turns to saw on both ends at same time, and I think we used up just about every hacksaw blade on the ship, not helped by fact that it was Monsoon season and we were rolling so much that we had to close the eng. room skylight as the sea was washing over the deck and down the opening.
We stopped at 09.40 on 22/7/1957 and got underway again at 16.10.

chuckgregg
28th November 2010, 10:46
I'm mighty impressed with rudder repair a very very good job. I was on the SS Naess Pride a 60,000 Tanker when blacked out in the Pacific ... diesel started but it siezed before we could get anything done...changed the bearing and we then realised not enough air to start the dam thing and believe this or not the compressor was electric ... with help from the Mate and his deckhands we got the lifeboat engine into the engineroom handmade a coupling having to hand drill everything taking 24 hrs .... started up engine and the compressor started pumping up the bottle great ... lifeboat engine doing a great job but could not drive the compressor to a high enough pressure to start the emergency diesel .... we then decided the only ting we could do was to try and hand flash one of the 650psi main boilers .... boiler drum opened and buckets of water carried from distilled water tanks until just appeared in glass ..... transfered diesel by bucket to a tank with a handpump in the boiler fuel line which must have been an after thought some where down the line .... mean while the indian crew were using 2 lifeboat pumps to keep the water level down in the engineroom [ we had so many leaks and ships side valves didn't seem to work ] eventually got 450 psi on boiler and I reckoned this would turn the alternater wrong .... eventually got 550psi and alternater on line fuel pumps started forced draft fan running and plant up and running 5.5 days later. A super told me Denholm management were beginning to worry as no noonday reports had been sent as sparky's batteries were u.s . never so glad to get a ship underway and get some hot food . Everybody on that ship pulled thier weight I don't know how much money we had saved the company by not calling for tugs. Get a well done, bonus , couple of cases of beer , no way I suppose it was our JOB.

Abbeywood.
1st December 2010, 12:42
Sailing as 4th on Andy' Weir's 'Eastbank', duties for 'clewing up' the 08/12 at lunchtime, included the sounding of the DB fuel tanks.
On the particular day of this tale I was sounding No 4 Starb'd, in the shaft tunnel and the reading was in excess of the previous day. this was drawn to the Chief's attention. As the DB was an 'in-use' tank the settling tank and the purifier soon made this patently obviouss.
On the next 'dip' the sounding rod went thru' the ships bottom and showed some reluctance to be withdrawn, and of course, once removed the water ingress became more rapid.
A 'temporary' repair was effected by the use of broom handle cut to a length of approx' 1 ft, tapered to a point, in the lathe, and bored at the other end, to fit the sounding rod. 'It'll never work' came the cries but by careful manoeuvring, with the plug held on the end of the rod by a loop of twine, trailing down the sounding-pipe the taper was soon entered into the hole in the bottom and gently tapped into place. When the plug was proven secure, the twine was removed
There was no white dove to set free, as per Noah, but the same effect was produced, the deluge ceased and the waters receded.
The 'temporary' repair was still in place when the crew change took place two or three months later and I presume a permanent repair was not effected until the next dry-docking.

Ian J. Huckin
2nd December 2010, 20:07
I was on the SS Naess Pride a 60,000 Tanker when blacked out in the Pacific.........

Now that story I like. The best of it is that each time you think you have a solution fate kicks you in the pants and you have to continue thinking on the run. I had a similar sort of occasion but not quite so dramatic...

On one of the ex SSM twin funnel jobs which was on its second stbd engine (SW TM410 series 'B') and its third port engine (SW TM410 series 'C') crossing the Pacific towards Japan (and ship sale) and running into heavy weather. Capt. Woods calls down about mid-night (most engineers down below) and says "Chief, how are those engines doing because the wx is only going to get worse and we cannot afford to lose even one" My response was along the lines that all looked pretty good at the moment, we were trying to keep on top of them. Shut down the shaft gennie and was on alts.

The storm turned out to be Typhoon Forest and early in the morning we were hit hard by so much green water that it washed beacoup deck pipework away...including the main deck air line which had inadvertantly been left open from the ER. By the time we were aware of losing the line we had also lost most of our air. These ships had Main Engines that ran on compressed air logic. Well as the pressure faded so did the logic and both engines stopped.

So there we were in a typhoon, both engines stopped on HO and no start air...

Isolated both main air receivers and while the air comps were pumping them up changed both engines over to DO and started flushing the fuel lines through. I have never ever, before, after or at anytime been on a ship that rolled and pitched anywhere near the way we did that night...it really was scary. The only people I could rely on in the ER were my few British engineers...the others sloped off in panic.

But, it did get worse. One air compressor blew its HP cooler, then the other broke the chain that drove the oil pump. Raided bits from one to rebuild the other. Then isolated a short length of a GS air line from one receiver and cut a hole in it to take a bayonet fitting which we welded in. Then ran the deck air compresser to at least get about 7bar in the receiver. As this was filling we got one compressor away.

The benefit of having two different engines was that the Port engine had a better, more reliable fuel system so it was set up as the engine
we would attempt to start first. It took ages to get up to 20bar which is where I wanted to be to try a start...committed to it really. I had the 3/E isolate all the air logic and go fully manual-matic, including pry bar into the fuel linkage to force fuel pumps open if the governor was playing hard to get.

Throwing the local air start lever was a heart stopping occasion but hearing that beautiful diesel knock as each cyl. started picking up was fabulous. Ran her up to 420 and let the governor take it. Threw the clutch in and got the shaft turning, up to 480rpm, gave the prop some pitch and came about into the weather.

It was still a long hard night and when you hear stories of footsteps up the ship sides in the ER I can truly vouch for seeing them, mine were there too the next morning.

The ship was the mv Killin, ex Cape Race I believe.

ART6
7th December 2010, 18:12
The only job I can recall with any clarity was when we were called upon to take a 36,000 tonne steam tanker up a river into the Amazon jungle to see if it was possible to load oil from a small terminal there. It was just a clearing really.

Anyway, what we didn't know was that there was a bar at the river entrance that was (I'd guess) a couple of miles wide and it was made up almost entirely of seashells. On the way over we rubbed the bottom and all of our oil coolers got filled with shells and blocked. The turbo-generators overheated rapidly, as did the boiler feed pump turbines, and it became a race to keep changing them over to the standby units and opening them up to clear them.

Where the generators were concerned that also meant running up the standby unit and putting it on line before shutting down the other one. I was the S2E and I never before or again changed over gennies so often and so fast! The synchronising needle hardly had time to move before I was hitting the main breaker button.

We got over the bar eventually, with all engine room staff exhausted and showing symptoms of heat exhaustion, but then we started the passage up river. No such thing as tugs, and so navigation was clearly almost impossible. Before we got to the berth we had accumulated five double rings astern, in a class of ship where that was supposed to be an invitation to disaster! A case of Tennant's lager was duly issued to every engineer by the Old Man.

Now came the return journey, and with a cargo loaded we were clearly not going to clear the bar. The OM thought that it was fairly loose and we could probably plough through it if we could keep going. It was either that or stay in the b****y jungle for the rest of our lives!

So we devised a plan, since we certainly wouldn't be able to keep our oil coolers from being filled every five minutes by crustaceans. It was the Chief's idea rather than mine, and it involved filling the after peak tank with river water and cobbling up a pipework connection to the cooling intakes for the gennies and the feed pumps.

We did all of that while going down river and throwing a few more double rings astern, and we went over that bl**dy bar like a snow plough. Exciting times!

Some long time later I decided to swallow the hook, and one of the shore jobs I applied for was at a new power station in London, as deputy chief engineer. At the interview the station manager said that he was looking for ex-marine engineers since they never gave up!

douglasjamesmichael
8th December 2010, 23:54
On board the Loch Long returning to a frozen Brest in February 1976 with a general cargo from the Netherlands Antilles, Santa Thomas de Castille, Porto Rica - all on behalf of KNSM Charter - why Brest all will become clear....about midway across the Atlantic during an Evening 8 to 12 - We Engineers were in the Ward room... inspecting our "docking " bottles and finishing off the Orangeboom and Red Stripe and other brews....when all of a sudden a crescendo of Engine Room alarms started following a load bang....need less to say everyone turned to and a mad frantic exodus from the wardroom to the Engine room....some going to the control room others seeing the damage....at the same time the telephone started to ring - the Bridge always call at the most inconvenient times....it was just left.
What had happed was,the 3rd leg from the 8 Cylinder Gotaverken had sheared Just below the slippers - sheared the Bottom End Bolts dropping the Bottom end into the sump it had crashed through the casing door and slid over the plates taking out No1 Bergen Diesel from the ASEA Genset.
What about the 4th.....well he must be one of the luckiest men alive..he had litterly just finishing listening in to No1 Bottom Ends (by using the old Screwdriver to ear trick) and had just turned around the For'd end of the Engine by seconds we do not know if the brown stuff appeared......
Anyway damage limitation time...fortunately were not carrying a reefer cargo.....we switched Gennys.
What next...call the AA man....no chance group hug and discussion - the Old man appeared concerned about the loss of power. Well what we are we going to do ...simples....part of the piston rod was bent and had to be removed - the bott end removed from the sump....and what a gash in the Crankshaft...Shoreside crew need with insitue grinding + a special undersize Bearing......The Shaft was mike'd and rough calcs about ahow much we would need to grind off ...Sparks turn to and on the wire.
Well everyone was turned to as we could only spend 5 mins in the Engine at a time cutting. eventually we swung the debris out and lifted the Bott end.
Some of the Deck Boys gave us a hand topsides removing the Cyl Head and getting the Piston out and going in with an Inside mic to check for damage..none
The Cylinder Head was returned and windy hammered up then secured - meanwhile others were clearing up the wreckage of the Bergen.
all in all that took us twelve hours - then we diverted to Brest instead of Rotterdam and took on a riding squad up to Rotterdam for repairs

Luffsen
12th December 2010, 08:52
How sad it was to see one my old ships MV Burutu Palm aground and dismantled on the sea bed with the 4cyl Doxford engine block and with the cylinders showing above the sea line.
It brought back memories of being covered in oil and sweat and i can recall working a 12 hr shift after a watch inside that crankcase, changing a bottom end bearing which was running very hot, whilst in the Bay of Biscay en route to europe from Takaradi with a deck cargo of timbers which were slowly slipping to port side due to high seas.
We eventually got her going again and on to Breman,then to Hamburg where i paid off, that was my one and only trip on her.
The old man was an old steam capt and his suggestion to the initial problem was to keep the cold water hose on it ??? (MAD)
Roy

Bridie
12th December 2010, 21:22
managed to save a very comfortable pair of flip-flops with a washer I found in chippy's locker.

Carl Wadkin
24th December 2010, 13:58
I've lost count of the number of times we stopped on various Bank Boats to replace cylinder liners etc. I have great admiration for the engineers who managed to change a liner whilst we rolled helpless in huge Pacific swells, just wish I had taken photos.
Despite being a deck officer I had always been fascinated by engineering (I run my own engineering business now), and even managed to come to the rescue in a minor engineering crisis.
I was a cadet aboard the Rowanbank and we were at Yandina in the Solomon Islands for a few days. The Mate hit on the great idea of a lifeboat trip to a nearby island to collect lengths of bamboo for paint rollers. So with a complement of myself, sparky, assorted engineers, chief engineer's wife and the Mate we headed off with fire axes and a case of Tennats.
Unfortunately the fuel pipe from the tank cracked and began to leak. Faced with a dissapointing return to base, one of the engineers wrapped rag around it and we proceeded as planned with a successful expedition.
However disaster struck on the return journey when the diesel soaked rag caught in the flywheel and nearly ripped the fuel pipe off. This is where I came to the rescue; I had a nasty cut on my thumb and the large elastoplast was just the right size to seal the pipe. Hopefully the pipe was replaced at some point, probably not if I know Bank Line!

znord737
31st December 2010, 17:30
I was C/E on Lauritzen's Roman Reefer (early '92) in the middle of the Pacific when, without any drama, we lost steering. There were no alarms or any indications that anything was wrong. I went to the SF and saw that the whole rudder stock had dropped so that it was clear of the tiller keyway. No matter what the rams were doing nothing was being transmitted to the rudder.

The only ER staff I could rely on were my Sri Lankan 2/E, Kari, and my Scottish Mechanic, Brian. This was going to be a big job.

With everything stopped the first thing to do was secure the rudder from potentially dropping clean out because we did not know what the damage to the pintles were. Several chain blocks later we had the weight of the rudder secured.

On opening up the radial rudder support bearing it could be seen that it had completely broken up and, I would guess, had been sharing the weight of the rudder with the pintles until something gave out.

With no spare bearing the weight of the rudder had to be permanently, and effectively supported while allowing rotation, so here is what we did:

1..With the weight supported split the tiller and cut out all parts of the old bearing that could interfere with rotation
2..Shot the vertical centre line of the rudder stock up to the deck head of the SF then calculated where this would be up top
3..Calcs. showed the CL to be about 18" clear of the aft house so a pilot hole was drilled through to confirm.
4..With the rudder pulled almost (short by 1.5" - explain later) back up into the tiller a measurement was taken from the lifting eye bolt through the pilot hole to the after deck. Once this was established added 18" and asked the Philipino Bosun to splice up the heaviest wire strop he could, eyes at both ends.
5..Cut down an overhead crane rail in the purifier flat (8" 'I' beam), secured some 4" dia sched 80 pipe, scrounged up some 1" plate.
6..From the 'I' beam fabricated a cross shaped strong-back, heavily reinforced and gusseted. Welded a lug under the center portion to take a heavy shackle.
7..Up on deck cut and welded doublers to the deck to spread the weight of the legs which would support our strong-back and, hence, the weight of the rudder.
8..Fitted the newly made wire strop to the rudder (alongside the lifting gear we were already using) Enlarged our pilot hole to take the top eye of the strop at the same time welding a 4" tube half way through the deck to protect the wire.
9..Supported our strong-back on four 20 ton bottle jacks and fitted the top eye to the strong-back using a heavy shackle.
10..Sequentially extended the jacks until this lifting device took the weight of the rudder and re-positioned it.
11..Used a fifth jack to enable support of each span of the strong-back while the original jack was removed and a measured and cut length of sched 80 pipe was welded in its place at the doubler and at the strong-back.
12 With all legs in place and jacks removed bracing was added to prevent twisting.
13. Removed all lifting devices and gear from around the SG and, in hand, operated the helm 5 deg P &S and all seemed good. Did this a couple of times and at 15 degs P & S the twist in the wire lifted the rudder 1.5 " to the position where there was no more clearance between the rudder stock square and the tiller. Wire brushed and primed our support.
14..Handed it back to the Captain with instructions to steer in hand for the rest of our passage with 15 deg helm as max. Smooth sailing and you would not know the difference.

Made anchorage at Panama a few days late (the job took 42hours pretty much just cat-napping) and the Principle Surveyor of LRS came out to check the repair to allow us alongside.

Once alongside a repair squad was waiting and the bearing was changed. Appears the construction of the pintle would allow such an event if the bearing broke up. We were inches away from losing everything.

We also received a letter of commendation from LRS for the repair.

The picture of me with Kari on one side and Brian on the other is probably the most treasured photo of my time at sea.

"Quote"
Having read the above disertation from Ian J Huckin it has confirmed to me that the British Marine Engineer was a special breed of individual,He was capable of thinking outside the box, inside the box, and sometimes on another planet.

What a tremendous achievement, no doubt the ship owners gave you a suitable thank you !

People like Ian J Huckin put the Great back into Great Britain and makes one proud of ones nationality.

Ian you are a Star ...........

Znord737 R/O retired

Brandane62
31st December 2010, 19:22
Interesting reading about all these repair jobs done at sea; especially the OP regarding the rudder repair. Amazing!

I was a Deck Cadet but sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had, at the age of 16, stopped to figure things out better and applied to be an Engineer cadet rather than Deck. Back then (as now) I was always happy to get stuck into anything mechanical with a spanner; the feeling you get when you diagnose and subsequently solve a problem is most satisfying. Then it was my bicycle, now it's the car or motorbike, or indeed bicycles again!

So why did I tick the "Deck" box on the application form rather than "Engineer"? Simply because I didn't fancy spending a year at College before getting to go to sea, rather than immediately as in the case of Deck Cadets. Short-sighted or what? But as I say, I was 16 years old and didn't think very far ahead....

Three years later after some great life experiences I realised that there was going to be no job in the unlikely event that I managed to knuckle down (stay away from the bar!) and get a second mates ticket, so off I went and joined the Police ashore. Bad mistake but another story.

Anyway, back to the point of this post... I am sure that had I become an Engineer Cadet then the influence of working under engineers such as Ian Huckin and others, would have been an inspiration to spur me onto greater things. Who knows, I might have still been doing the job I originally planned to spend my life doing! It certainly took a special breed to succeed at sea. I still remember the great folk I sailed with. Engine/Deck/Radio/Catering; Officers or Ratings. In the various jobs I have done since, no collective group of people can lace your boots. Mr Huckin being a prime example.

johnjames06
10th January 2011, 00:03
I was not involved in this myself but heared about it. A destroyer was steaming back to Portsmouth through the Eastern Med. It was involved in a bad collision causing extensive damage to the bow. The ship could not go forward because of the damage so they tried to limp along in reverse. this did'nt go very well as the steam from the astern turbine wheel was going straight into the condenser and overheating it if they did that for any length of time. The ship went into dry dock in Malta, the propellers were taken off and changed over, the ship steamed back to portsmouth on the ahead turbines as normal but going in reverse as the propellers were going the wrong way. John.

billyboy
10th January 2011, 05:35
HMS Marlboro returns to port perhaps?

Winebuff
10th January 2011, 19:29
I was not involved in this myself but heared about it. A destroyer was steaming back to Portsmouth through the Eastern Med. It was involved in a bad collision causing extensive damage to the bow. The ship could not go forward because of the damage so they tried to limp along in reverse. this did'nt go very well as the steam from the astern turbine wheel was going straight into the condenser and overheating it if they did that for any length of time. The ship went into dry dock in Malta, the propellers were taken off and changed over, the ship steamed back to portsmouth on the ahead turbines as normal but going in reverse as the propellers were going the wrong way. John.

Not too sure this makes sense, all the tails shafts I ever saw were tapered.

Sound like it may have come from the same source as the wooden propeller story to me.(Ouch)

johnjames06
10th January 2011, 21:37
winebuff, Pay attention, I'll say it again slowly. Both propellors were removed, In the same aspect the stbd. prop was fitted to the port shaft the port prop was fitted to the stbd. shaft. Neither prop was turned 180 degrees so the tapers were the same . Given that both shafts turn in opposing directions you should now see that this operation was feasible. In fact it became legend and went into the exam questions--what would you do if?..Regards John. PS never heared about the wooden propeller.(Frogger)(Frogger)(Frogger)

Ian J. Huckin
11th January 2011, 18:55
winebuff, Pay attention, I'll say it again slowly. Both propellors were removed, In the same aspect the stbd. prop was fitted to the port shaft the port prop was fitted to the stbd. shaft. Neither prop was turned 180 degrees so the tapers were the same . Given that both shafts turn in opposing directions you should now see that this operation was feasible. In fact it became legend and went into the exam questions--what would you do if?..Regards John. PS never heared about the wooden propeller.(Frogger)(Frogger)(Frogger)

Hmmmmm!!!!....would work if the thrust pad arrangement was equal for ahead and astern...some applications had the astern thrust surface considerably smaller.

Billieboy
11th January 2011, 19:50
RN, Ian, Main thrust blocks were sized to take same loads ahead as astern, or it was when I was in school!

R58484956
12th January 2011, 17:38
Knocking a 6" piece of broom handle into a hole in a coffer dam on board the QE(1) to stop a leak that that had put about 4 ft of water in it before it was noticed. kept the ship afloat for about 4 months till we dry docked at christmas.

Ian J. Huckin
12th January 2011, 19:26
RN, Ian, Main thrust blocks were sized to take same loads ahead as astern, or it was when I was in school!

Ah yes, I never thought of that. Makes a lot more sense now....

johnjames06
17th January 2011, 00:04
Fieldsy, We had the same problem offshore on a Paxman 12 YLC generator. Fortunately we had a vibrations boffin on board with all his gismoz. we drilled holes opposite the thrown blade into the the rotor untill the charger was balanced. Eventually we replaced the whole turbo charger with minimum down time. That was then , today they would probably wait for the makers man. John. (Thumb)

david m leadbetter
25th January 2011, 15:46
I often got the feeling that once we got over the horizon and out of view we were on our own.

This then gave most engineers that technical know how,
that special something that sets men apart
.that push when men must take on nature in all her cruelest fury.
(K)

I remember going over the mud, on the Rubens, (L and H). Going into Georgetown Brit. Guiana. All cylinder relief valves blew. The day workers left the engine room in a hurry. The temperature and pressure guages went up. The skipper said don't stop now we're not in a good place. Net result was we threw the Mitchell thrust. After a while we obviously cleared the mud and had to ring stop engines.

The next thing to happen of course is to make some kind of repair,

So.... off came the cover of the thrust which was by this time full of melted white metal...Next thing?? Well we took the tool post of the lathe in the workshop didn't we.. If you bolt the toolpost to the lower casing you can put the turning gear into action and skim the shaft flange face. Can you not !! Yes you can!! And yes we did. As we just happened to have our insurance spares on the bulkhead we cleaned them, fitted them, and slowly came in and alongside.. A shore crew came on board and had a second go, but I reckon we had it beat already.

David L
R670811

johnjames06
25th January 2011, 19:52
David, That was a great repair. What did you do in the afternoon?. John. :sweat::sweat::sweat:

david m leadbetter
26th January 2011, 04:33
David, That was a great repair. What did you do in the afternoon?. John. :sweat::sweat::sweat:

Well as you know L and H crew were pretty good. The Sparky used to play accordion on number 5 hatch in the afternoon, so what else we had our breakdown bottle of anesthetic and sang norty nautical shanties.
You know I always wondered how the chief got seven serves out of one bottle,,,,,, guesse that ticket is not for just sitting in the office.

David L.
R670811

Winebuff
31st January 2011, 18:19
winebuff, Pay attention, I'll say it again slowly. Both propellors were removed, In the same aspect the stbd. prop was fitted to the port shaft the port prop was fitted to the stbd. shaft. Neither prop was turned 180 degrees so the tapers were the same . Given that both shafts turn in opposing directions you should now see that this operation was feasible. In fact it became legend and went into the exam questions--what would you do if?..Regards John. PS never heared about the wooden propeller.(Frogger)(Frogger)(Frogger)

Apologies, never read the question in most exams either, now makes sense.

There was a Bank Line 2nd Eng who "allegedly" could repair anything with a lump of wood, the other story to the propeller was a wooden piston - which on a Doxford is almost believable.

johnjames06
5th February 2011, 10:18
Are Gunter battens still used ?.

waldziu
6th February 2011, 16:31
JJ, they were uptil the time I left the service in 90. I doubt that todays matelotes would be able to use one unless it was digital.

Am I becoming a grumpy old man?

johnjames06
6th February 2011, 18:31
Digital Gunter battens, I like that. Join the G.O.Ms club, I'm a founder member(Thumb)(Thumb)

johnjames06
11th February 2011, 19:16
I was having a drink with a ex submariner the other day at the Legion and we were talking about this thread. He said there was an operation in boats called slinging the piston. If a big end went on one of the ASRs they would disconnect the big end bearing remove the lower half, push the piston up the liner and put a special pin through the underside of the liner( the bit that protrudes into the crankcase) to hold the piston in place. They did everything up and away they went. Nothing was done to the valves and rockers as they would'nt interfere with anything. There was a special clamp put onto the big end journal to contain the lub oil. Has anyone heard of this?.

surfaceblow
12th February 2011, 18:49
I was having a drink with a ex submariner the other day at the Legion and we were talking about this thread. He said there was an operation in boats called slinging the piston. If a big end went on one of the ASRs they would disconnect the big end bearing remove the lower half, push the piston up the liner and put a special pin through the underside of the liner( the bit that protrudes into the crankcase) to hold the piston in place. They did everything up and away they went. Nothing was done to the valves and rockers as they would'nt interfere with anything. There was a special clamp put onto the big end journal to contain the lub oil. Has anyone heard of this?.

A lot of the engines that I worked on have the capability of hanging or suspending piston, piston rod, crosshead and connecting rod in an engine. There is usually a chart for the recommended rpm and MCR load with one piston out of service. I never had to operate an engine with a piston hanging, but I have pulled pistons and valves at sea luckily they were planned outages and we had more than one engine.

Joe

TonyAllen
12th February 2011, 19:21
Not being an engineer but I do recall what I think was a piston hanging red hot on the catalina star south west atlantic hove to in nice weather for 24 hours
this was 1960 engineers did not seem to be too worried about it there was no panic that I was aware of. I was asistant cook Regards Tony Allen

johnjames06
12th February 2011, 19:42
Thanks for that Joe , you too tony. It says a lot about the ingenuity of submariners when they can do that. I was going to say ERAs but more than them would be involved in something like that. By the way Tony navy engineers never panic, It get's in the way of clear thinking.

TonyAllen
12th February 2011, 23:26
John 06 quite so panic leads to a lot of water from the body Tony

Ian J. Huckin
14th February 2011, 17:32
Some time back I posted about a winter N. Pacific trip when four geared 30,000ton bulkers loaded grain on the Mississippi and set off for China. It was a disaster with two of the ships foundering in extreme heavy weather. I also mentioned we ourselves had a quite catastrophic event just hours after one of the ships went down.

It was Christmas Morning when she disappeared and we were all in very low spirits when I was called to the engine room. The 4/E was really stressed and told me to go down to the main SW p/p filters.

On getting to the middles I could already see water shooting right across the fwd bottom plates and it was coming from the main sea chest, which was effectively a large box into the ER. A deep frame was welded to the top of the sea chest and where the ship was working so hard in the heavy seas the flexing had caused the deep frame to peel the top off the sea chest. We cranked up the main ballast pumps and put them on the emergency injection (bilge) suctions. In fact, every p/p that could take a bilge suction was operated, except the main SW p/ps - at this stage. I just wanted to see if we could beat the water ingress.

I climbed down on top of the SW chest and as best I could see it was opening and closing up about 2" to 3" over a length of about 30" and at a draft of about 36' sea water was absolutely pouring in. There was quite a bit of "tension"

There was no way of caulking the leak so the only option appeared to be to try and jack the top back down....so in effect here is what happened:

1..Gas axed a section of the deep frame out to separate it from the top of the sea chest.
2..Cut down one of the main engine turbo charger overhead crane 'I' beams (for removing rotor assembly)
3..Cut and welded the 'I' beam to fit between the frames immediately ahead and aft of the sea chest at a height one inch taller than the height of the four hydraulic jacks we had available. Welded in heavy gussets to brace 'I' beam against frames.
4..Inserted the four jacks and pressed them up to force top of sea chest back into position...saw an immediate decrease in water flow as it started moving back into position.
5..Carried on jacking until top was back in place and leakage under control.
6..Peened edges of split together with sledgehammer and caulking tool.
7..Welded about 20 short studs three inches back from either side of split and use these as posted to lace in chicken mesh and soft iron locking wire to form a matrix for holding as much under water devcon as we had on board.
8..Stood back and admired a 100% water tight seal...eat turkey, drink beer.....

The guys would always get on to me about how fastidious I was about keeping tank tops and bilges clean....a couple of neglected rags/debris etc could have blocked the emergency bilge suctions and we would have been in a world of hurt.

johnjames06
14th February 2011, 19:33
A magnificent effort Ian in the highest tradition of MN engineers. I hope the company showed their gratitude as the team saved the ship. However from what I have read on this site about MN companies their usual attitude is " they were only doing their job". (Thumb)

Ian J. Huckin
14th February 2011, 19:41
A magnificent effort Ian in the highest tradition of MN engineers. I hope the company showed their gratitude as the team saved the ship. However from what I have read on this site about MN companies their usual attitude is " they were only doing their job". (Thumb)

I think we all just totally enjoyed our safe arrival party - the thing is, as you all know, you sail with people who you probably would not have anytime for shoreside however, a shared experience like that makes for strange bed-fellows....though only figuratively speaking I can assure you.....(==D)

TonyAllen
14th February 2011, 23:44
Ian I thought your first post was a cracker which I posted on but your last post was as impressive bearing in mind the loss of the other carriers good teamwork it seems all round egards Tony

eldersuk
15th February 2011, 00:52
I posted this previously on a Doxford thread in the Gallery, maybe it fits better here.

I was 3rd Engineer on Elders 'Eboe', a 6 cyl Scott Doxford.
As I went on watch one night at midnight the engine slowed down and stopped. Rushing round the job (as one does) I saw that while the engine was slowing down both camshafts had stopped. Of course the next thing, the Chief was on the phone "What the **** is going on?" "I think the chain has broken." "What ******* chain?" "The ******* camshaft chain." - Deathly silence!
We opened up No.6 crankcase door and there was the chain, in knots round the crankshaft. It took 12 hours to unravel it, cutting it off with a hacksaw as we released short lengths with the turning gear and a handy billy.
When we got the old chain off we found that it had stripped the teeth off the crankshaft chainwheel. Scotts' in their wisdom had fitted this wheel in two halves to the collar on the crankshaft, so it was a staightforward job to remove it. Unfortunately, the holes for the fitted bolts were quite badly damaged.
We found that we had a spare wheel bolted to the bulkhead, covered in white paint. But what to do about the holes and the fitted bolts some of which were bent? We had on board a few expanding reamers which were carried for another job which regularly cropped up (that's another story) so with the aid of these we were able to clean up the holes and then made new fitted bolts on the lathe out of generator bottom end bolts and got the new wheel fitted.
Next job was the spare chain which we extracted from its oil bath storage. Believe me an oily Doxford chain is an awkward thing to handle, there seemed to be miles of it and it had a life of its own!
Eventually, we set the engine on No.1 TDC, locked the camshafts in the correct position, fed the chain round the various sprockets and riveted up the ends after a couple of turns to see everything was as it should be.
After checking all the bits and pieces we had disturbed we boxed the engine up and gave it a try. Needless to say, being a Doxford it ran perfectly first time.
Total time stopped, 48 hours. Good fun while it lasted!
During the job the Chief injured his knee and retired hurt, the 2nd went down with heat exhaustion - but the Purser's Dept. did sterling work trimming cold Wrexham lager down to the lads.
A couple of days later, in Lagos, when the Chief advised the Head Office of our adventure, their reply was that we couldn't have done all this, "because there was no spare chainwheel in the spare gear list."
Bloody typical!!!

Derek

johnjames06
15th February 2011, 17:44
Another great repair, My admiration of MN engineers is increasing by the day. (Thumb)(Thumb)

Magic Fingers
15th February 2011, 17:56
Ian, I thought boiler walls collapsing and boiler room fires were bad enough but reading your experiences makes my time at sea seem tame. I guess you don't have a box to restrict your thinking.
Richard.