The Chief Engineers' Challenge.

Macphail
30th June 2009, 22:55
Where does the Chief Engineer face the greatest challenge.

Being bias, I would say the modern Gas Ship, just as much engineering on deck as in the engine room, not that I have any knowledge off, but on the large passenger liner the Chief must be some sort of god with all services to cope with, that will require a certain type of character.
How do they select, is it degree type qualifications or company service.

John.

Satanic Mechanic
30th June 2009, 23:02
Never any easy or a good thing to try and compare as they are not like for like. I personally find gas ships easy

James_C
30th June 2009, 23:11
Would agree with SM. Gas boats are an absolute doddle, I would think your average C/E would find more of a challenge on an OBO or perhaps a geriatric (30 years plus) VLCC.
That and of course finding the perfect G&T mixture...

surfaceblow
1st July 2009, 00:31
I found that my biggest challenge has Chief Engineer was with the RO/RO's used by the US Military. During each cargo move there was more interesting damage to the cargo gear and cargo on-board. We had to fabricate a helicopter tow bar since we did not have one on-board and the discharge port did not have one. Have over height vehicles hit and damage gas tight doors. I did figure out to unlock the hatches before moving the cargo was off the covers after finding out that the crew closed the covers with stanchions on the tracks. We did have 60 ton guillotine door fall off its tracks because the operator did not take the slack out of the wires before releasing the locks on closing the door. After this accident the operator of the ship took the operation of the cargo equipment from the Deck Department and required that only the Chief Engineer was to operate the RO/Ro equipment.

Joe

Macphail
1st July 2009, 23:24
Would agree with SM. Gas boats are an absolute doddle, I would think your average C/E would find more of a challenge on an OBO or perhaps a geriatric (30 years plus) VLCC.
That and of course finding the perfect G&T mixture...

I sailed on the P&O Gas ships, many problems, Gazana, Gambada, the big G's, NFG, OBO's, not a very good idea, how about an old freezer ship with a ammonia refrigerant with leaks, a nightmare and a challenge for the Chief.

john.

James_C
2nd July 2009, 00:57
John,
Can't say I've ever been on an LPG ship, only LNG and those ships just had money thrown at them.
I can certainly appreciate what you're saying though, especially if such a ship didn't have the money spent on it. Much more complex problems rather than the general decrepit mess you find on a normal ship.
Until recently BP only ever had the one LPG ship in their fleet - the Gas Enterprise, and whilst in general she was a real horror story, deck side was relatively trouble free compared to what was going on below.
Twin pielsticks geared to a single shaft...
Many Engineers were never the same again!

arkwright
2nd July 2009, 01:25
If you fancy a challenge, the suggest you try a decent sized FPSO

Dual Fuel HP Boilers providing steam for a couple of 14MW T/A sets
Dual Fuel Gas Turbines ( which means they always fail to fire on MGO)
Electrical Grid of 60 to 100MW @ 11kV
Gas Compression at 200bar+
Water Injection Pumps at 200bar
Crude Processing plant of up to 180,000bbls/day
Fines for downtime larger than a British MP's expenses bill
Cargo offloads once or twice per week
Threats of down manning the crew as soon as the AC is down for an hour or the galley range not working
More audits and Inspections than you can shake a stick at

.....and you have to fit all that in between the continual "meetings" that are the norm these days

And guess what - I actually enjoyed it - well apart from the meetings !!!

MARINEJOCKY
2nd July 2009, 03:58
I will await the replies from the Houlders C/E's to see if they support the theory that our Fiery Kippers were easy or an absolute doddle.

I must of just been unlucky (*))

The Joule, oh the Joule, you were a doddle and it was all in my mind after all.

Derek Roger
2nd July 2009, 03:59
Biggest Challenge .
Was to have the "Old Man" understand what was going on and lead him to a good decision .

Happy Days Derek

steamer659
4th July 2009, 01:09
I think that Cruiseships presented the greatest challenge- especially the older liners- like the SS Independence... Not only two engine rooms and two firerooms, but large air conditioning machinery, reefers, sewage systems, the galley and all their equipment, not to mention every room and the myriad of plumbing, electrical and HVAC troubles...

GWB
4th July 2009, 01:52
I would have to agree with you Steamer.

GWB

non descript
4th July 2009, 03:17
I will await the replies from the Houlders C/E's to see if they support the theory that our Fiery Kippers were easy or an absolute doddle.

I must of just been unlucky (*))

The Joule, oh the Joule, you were a doddle and it was all in my mind after all.

Whilst I have very fond memories of the Joule, as it was her, and her alone that secured my undeserved promotion, I would agree that she was a complete nightmare to work on – both on Deck and in the Engine Room. In the 10 months that I was onboard, I never set foot down the gangway, except to read the draft. Her re-liquefaction plant should have been in the Science Museum as a monument to what not to do in order to keep control of rising temperatures and pressure, and the only way we ever managed to keep the cargo vaguely within limits, was to open the vents and send tons of ammonia up the riser. The fact that she leaked seawater into the ballast tanks, and these tanks in their turn leaked the same water into the containment space, was not so much a surprise, but more a way of life. The shipbuilders, not unreasonably, did not build any pipelines or suctions to take the water away from the containment space – possibly thinking that it was impossible to get water into the space, so there was no need for a suction… Wrong again… The final act of revenge she had was to wait until we had a fire in the compressor room while carrying cargo and with the main fire pump out of action, and then when we had the emergency fire pump up and running, it blew up and caught fire – an LPG ship with two fires and no fire pumps at all, seemed almost normal for the Joule (Jester) – A very happy ship, but a total nightmare.

kewl dude
4th July 2009, 04:38
surfaceblow when the AquaRama was introduced to the Great Lakes they were always having problems getting the auto port doors properly shut. So the C/E was assigned as operator.

Frenchy LaRue, once upon a time Aqua Rama C/E and I sailed together offshore some years later and he had all kinds of weird car port stories.

Greg Hayden

Macphail
5th July 2009, 22:47
I was on the Avon Forest in 1976, transporting Fiat lorry’s for the Egyptian army from Bari in Italy, to Alexandria, four voyages in total, brand spanking new Lorries.
First trip, the Egyptian drivers could not hack it as far as the Ro-Ro was concerned. Lorries jammed in the elevators between decks and other big problems. Volunteers required, wedges of dollars on offer to discharge the ship, the engine room maintenance did suffer which put pressure on the Chief.
The Lorries where put in a compound in the Alexandria dock area, everything that could be removed was stripped off, the first trip Lorries where standing on bricks with the wheels removed. We all had a lovely Fiat lorry tool kit in the garage (engine Room.)..

Sad but such is life,

John.

MARINEJOCKY
6th July 2009, 12:17
Tonga,

You got lucky on the Joule, did you not have a scavenge fire at the same time as the other two. It seemed we had one every day.

I think we were down to 4 cylinders out of seven when we got word that there had been an under water eruption around Indonesia and a massive wave was heading our way. Fortunately the wave missed us but it was yet another story from that ship to go with the one of me having what eveyrbody thought was a heart attack at 21 years of age and having to be stretched off the ship in Taiwan. Actually two wee fellows attempted that on a steep gangway but I ended up walking down.

Containment spaces and Dogsy, need I say more.

Was John Houlder not one of the innovaters of gas transport, do I not remember someone telling me he came up with the idea of using crude oil as an insulation material.

chadburn
6th July 2009, 16:33
Wether it was hydromatic, systematic or automatic within half an hour of the "makers man" hitting the beach after giving the thumbs up everything was "fine tuned" and ok the system/s would have to be returned to handomatic.

cryan
8th July 2009, 21:54
Chiefs on modern cruise ships have by far the most machinery to be responsible for but many more hands to slope shoulders on. Never saw Big box boat chiefs do much more than build aeroplane models. Offshore boats in asia can be tricky to run via local suppliers and chandlers, However on my boat almost all our spares are "procured" from skips next to warships under refit, "surplus" MOD stores on the quayside or good old screwfix catalogue (at my expense). We ofen have to butcher things to fit and yet if I need an hour on downtime I am dragged across the coals to explain myself. Often find spit and chewing gum can do good, oh and gaffer tape.

funnelstays
5th September 2010, 00:20
John,
Can't say I've ever been on an LPG ship, only LNG and those ships just had money thrown at them.
I can certainly appreciate what you're saying though, especially if such a ship didn't have the money spent on it. Much more complex problems rather than the general decrepit mess you find on a normal ship.
Until recently BP only ever had the one LPG ship in their fleet - the Gas Enterprise, and whilst in general she was a real horror story, deck side was relatively trouble free compared to what was going on below.
Twin pielsticks geared to a single shaft...
Many Engineers were never the same again!

Did she become a floating storage unit and renamed Darwin?

JoK
5th September 2010, 11:42
Science ships, especially the older ones. There is a ton of equipment, winches and specialized equipment going on and off, labs in containers , hydraulics and on and on. Not only that, but the scientists themselves, they are a different breed, totally incompatible with engineers.

surfaceblow
5th September 2010, 20:31
Science ships, especially the older ones. There is a ton of equipment, winches and specialized equipment going on and off, labs in containers , hydraulics and on and on. Not only that, but the scientists themselves, they are a different breed, totally incompatible with engineers.

I sailed with one "scientist" with a PhD that made himself a grill cheese sandwich using the toaster, he managed to squeeze the two slices of bread and cheese into one slot of the toaster but the heat of the toaster expanded the bread and cheese so the sandwich would not pop out. The smoke caused the fire alarm to go off. So we caught him tiring to remove his sandwich with a metal knife with the toaster still plugged in. To go along with his sandwich he poured milk into the Bunn coffee maker to make hot chocolate.

That same night the scientist told me that he heard that the lifeboats had chocolate in them and wanted to see how they taste.

Joe

Landi
5th September 2010, 21:50
Where does the Chief Engineer face the greatest challenge.

Being bias, I would say the modern Gas Ship, just as much engineering on deck as in the engine room, not that I have any knowledge off, but on the large passenger liner the Chief must be some sort of god with all services to cope with, that will require a certain type of character.
How do they select, is it degree type qualifications or company service.

John.

Hi John,
Going back to the original question (and as someone who is currently sailing on a dual fuel, diesel electric, gas tanker as Chief) apart from my good looks and charm, its experience and adaptability that counts, with a Chiefs ticket, just like its always been, and all ships are "easy" until the lights go out.

Modern ships have so many computer based control systems that the ETO's technical ability has become more important to me than the ability of the 2nd Engineer. While we carry many spares and a lot of components can be changed, the ETO's ability to fault find on complex electronic systems is most important to me.

Communications are very important, both to send and receive information, we have a laptop computer monitoring the propulsion system which can be used to send fault files to the Makers for analysis in the event of a fault. The main engines can be tuned by laptop, downloading files received by email from the Makers.

Good support from the Office and technical backup is a must.

What has changed in the 30 odd years I have been at sea? Well I am no longer the God that Chiefs were when I was a lowly cadet, we still have to revert to hammers and spanners on occasion, but decent pay, 3 months on 3 months off, internet access and free 20 minute phone calls per day, all help.

Ian.

Satanic Mechanic
6th September 2010, 17:28
To be honest, for me modern IAS systems are so self diagnostic I could shave a monkey kick him through South Shields college (something I actually hope to do one day) and teach him how to fix them. If I was being even more honest I would scrap them in the main and just have a alarm annuciation system.

Duncan112
6th September 2010, 18:47
To be honest, for me modern IAS systems are so self diagnostic I could shave a monkey kick him through South Shields college (something I actually hope to do one day) and teach him how to fix them. If I was being even more honest I would scrap them in the main and just have a alarm annuciation system.

Problem comes when you run out of replacement boards/they become obselete or the company plain and simple won't supply them (haqd all 3 happen to me!!) then you need a little more than a trained primate to fix the system.

Satanic Mechanic
6th September 2010, 19:08
Problem comes when you run out of replacement boards/they become obselete or the company plain and simple won't supply them (haqd all 3 happen to me!!) then you need a little more than a trained primate to fix the system.

In my experience modern IAS boards are unrepairable onboard unlike the old annunciator boards. There are just too many ICs, mutiplexed channels and proprietry bits to do it. You are absolutely right of course in the older systems a good electronics guy was like gold dust (and earned his bananas ;))

surfaceblow
6th September 2010, 19:29
Problem comes when you run out of replacement boards/they become obselete or the company plain and simple won't supply them (haqd all 3 happen to me!!) then you need a little more than a trained primate to fix the system.

I had the same problems with control systems that become obsolete before the useful life of the ship. I had to have monitoring and control systems be replaced while underway. The first ship we replaced the relay based control system to computer control. The monitoring system used analog sensors to dual channel cards which was also replaced due to the unavailable analog to digital cards and the dual channel cards failing due to the aging of the capacitors. I was lucky enough to repair the dual channel cards by replacing the capacitors onboard the ship and not having to send out the cards for repairs for $650 per card.

The second ship also had a problem with the analog to digital cards were no longer available. On this ship all of the motor controllers were outside the machinery spaces. There were no local start or stop buttons at the motors. With out the control system in operation you had to manually open and close the valves at the outstation terminal strips with jumpers and have some one start or stop the motors in the electrical equipment rooms. After two days of operating the plant by the use of jumpers I was able to find a suitable replacement analog to digital card from the spare air conditioner control computer to replace the card that had failed.

Joe