Ships Nostalgia - View Single Post - Steam versus the Rest
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Old 26th May 2006, 16:47
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
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Active: 1962 - 2005
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Having sailed on both and despite being a " motor man " I have to defer to steam turbines . They have only 1 moving part ! They were quieter and watchkeping was somewhat boring . Maipura was described by all as sweet as a sewing machine .
The boilers on steamers were however the curse and did require a lot of work ( thats why most vessels had multiple boilers )

Rolling or plugging bolier tubes down the Red Sea was not considered "Fun ".

Equally each watch had to " Blow Tubes " ; Going on the boiler tops to open the sootblower master and then blow tubes was "not fun " when you consider the E/R temp on the plates under the Fan inlet was around 120 to 140 east of Suez .The boiler tops were so hot if work had to be done ( pack a gland etc ) we would put the tools in a bucket of water so they could be handled !
Average time on the tops was about 5 to 10 mins then a break .
Also when we blew tubes the bridge was informed so they could alter course depending on the wind direction to avoid the deck being covered with soot .
Considering it took about 20 mins to blow the tubes on each boiler ( Maihar had 3 ) it meant we were going in the wrong direction for approx 1 hr / day ???
I wonder if anyone ever worked out how much that cost in Fuel ??

Steam tubines were more reliable but give me diesels anyday ( especially with air conditioned control rooms ).

We had one stoppage at sea on The Maipura and that was during the India /Packistan war when we had to change crews in Rangoon and our original Pakistani crew left us a present by putting sand in the Forced Draft
fan bearings .We were able to proceed slowly on natural draft until we replaced the bearings . ( That was the only time I saw the C/E in the engine room at sea )
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