Mea Culpa - Ships Nostalgia

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Mea Culpa

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Old 23rd November 2009, 01:28
jim garnett jim garnett is offline  
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Mea Culpa

Having initiated a thread,The worst engineer I encountered,I thought it behoves all the contributers
to own up to some of their own blues.So I'll start.
Under the steering flat was a small diesel pump apparently to be used to pump out any leakage from
the rudder gland.On discovering this pump ,being a conscientious engineer,Idecided to test it.The
diesel started at first try but we couldn't get suction.The pump discharged to either the "water on deck line"or overboard.I used the "water on deck"line to charge the pump and all worked excellently.
It being knock-off time we headed shore-side to give the local girls the pleasure of our company.
Returning to the pump the next day we found it under water and no where to drain it to.I think I must have forgotten to close the line to the "water on deck"line and the G/S pump had been started for early morning wash down.Fortunately the Mate had a lifeboat in the water and so we ran an extension lead from the steering flat and drilled a 5/8 hole underneath the compartment and let gravity do its thing.
24 hours later the pump was out of water,and on a whim I decided to give it a run.Unbelievably it worked
first go.Well I thought another triumph for a second engineer's ingenuity.
I then told one of the Juniors "to drain the water out and refill it" And thats exactlywhat he did.
Next time in port we revisited the unit and found it siezed solid.The Junior had done exactly what I'd
told him to do ,but I'd neglected to tell him what to refill it with!!So he refilled it with water.
I think we wrote the diesel off as"heavy water damage"
By the way I did remembered to plug the hole.
I was always more concise in my directions to Juniors after that.
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Old 23rd November 2009, 03:25
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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The worst engineer I ever sailed with had to have been a 1st Engineer we once had on the old USNS Pvt John R. Towle. That was back when I was sailing for the Military Sealift Command, which was the U.S. equivalent of Britain's R.F.A. The 1st originally came from Trinidad, and I recall there being some reason to believe that his citizenship papers might not have been entirely legitimate. That didn't particularly bother anybody, however, because there were always a lot of crewmembers like that on Military Sealift Command ships in those days. As I recall, during that same voyage our Chief Engineer came from Norway and our Captain was a Serb.

The 1st had previously sailed as 2nd Engineer on that same ship, during which period he got kicked off the ship for pumping fuel oil over the side into new York Harbor. He wasn't fired, however. You literally had to take a fire ax to the Captain to get fired from MSC in those days. I once heard about a guy who actually did get fired, but only after he had set fire to the ship FOR THE SECOND TIME.

In any case, the current 1st Engineer got fed up and walked off the ship just as she was preparing to sail overseas. MSC needed a replacement fast, and the former 2nd Engineer just happened to be the only guy available at short notice.

The things that man did boggled the mind. once, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he deliberately tripped the emergency fuel cut off. that sent the engineer on watch desperately running around the engine room trying to figure out why the boilers were shutting down around him. While we were docked in Scotland the Chief Engineer, who was Norwegian, decided to fly home for a few days, and he left the 1st in charge. While he was gone the 1st began dismantling one of the boilers in order to overhaul it, and then couldn't figure out how to put it back together again. When the Chief came back he found the 1st trying to sort out the mess that he'd made in the bottom of the boiler room, while the other engineers were standing around laughing at him. Things got so bad that one of the watch-standing engineers told me that he actually threatened to punch the 1st's lights out if the 1st dared to set foot in the engineroom while he was on watch.

Last edited by Klaatu83; 23rd November 2009 at 03:28..
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Old 23rd November 2009, 10:43
JoK JoK is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,059
Worse I did?
DC electric drive ship. We dropped anchor and I knocked the bridge control off. We were only to be anchored for a short time so I left theplant running and revved up the diesels so they wouldn;t be idling.
5 minutes later, there was a couple of panic stricken pages in the IC system, Captain to the bridge, bosun to the foscle and a call for telegraphs.
Then the Chief rolled into the control room. I had forgot to take off the exciters before revving the engines up. The mate had looked out the window and realized we were steaming upriver towards the bridge dragging the anchor.
I had only just started at that time.
Walk softly and carry a big wrench
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