Modern engine rooms - a query. - Ships Nostalgia
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Modern engine rooms - a query.

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  #1  
Old 13th September 2019, 11:41
norm.h's Avatar
norm.h norm.h is offline  
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Modern engine rooms - a query.

Last night I watched Monster Ships on the Yesterday channel, and it struck me that I know absolutely nothing about how modern day engine rooms are manned.

So can this old guy who was in several engine rooms in the latter half of the 50s, ask how modern day engine rooms operate?

Things like, to what extent are they automated, staffing levels, how are breakdowns handled, watch-keeping regimes, etc etc.

Depending on responses, I may well show my ignorance further.
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Old 13th September 2019, 12:10
DaveM399 DaveM399 is offline  
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I've watched a few of these programs, and always like to see the engine room bits. I know that manning numbers have been cut since my time in the 70's and 80's, but does the C/E always run around in a boiler suit these days helping out, or is this just for show?
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  #3  
Old 13th September 2019, 12:31
henry1 henry1 is offline
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My last trip was in 2014, it was a 2011 VLCC. Engine staff were C/E, 2/E,3/E,4/E. No electrician, the crew were Filipino, a No.1 oiler who was like a fitter and four oilers. Main engine was seven cylinder B&W 36,000 BHP, very reliable, one boiler and ecconomiser, one T/A and two D/A's At sea the engine room was UMS which meant the duty engineer did a check before leaving the E/R at 17:00 before switching to UMS mode this activated the alarm panel in his cabin and the public rooms and the bridge, there was also cctv on the bridge of critical areas, the duty engineer with duty oiler would go down again at 22:00 to 23:00 to make rounds calling the bridge to tell them the engine room would be manned and again calling when leaving after rounds. The engine room would not be manned again until 07:00 when the next duty engineer took over unless there was an alarm.
The equipment was full automation, bridge control, auto start D/G's and boiler, full fire control and alarm system, hypermist water over all the fuel fed equipment and high expansion foam for the engine room and pump room.
Engine room would be manned for all standby's and in port when loading and discharging, about two days to load 300,000 tonnes and two days for discharge, at sea at 15k would burn about 90 t/day HFO. T/A on economizer takes all load at sea so D/G's only used on standy and in port
Last dry dock was in 2014 and all units were done in four days by the yard (no immobilisation allowed in port)
As to breakdowns quite rare on these ships but in the 1990's I was on some VLCC's that had engine problems stopping at sea to do units after only 4000 hrs and the crew were very experienced, not sure how these newer crews would respond.
Hope the above answers some of what you wanted, large container ships have different equipment and manning.
As to the C/E in the engine room I have had a few ships where I was needed full hands on caused by bad ships with many problems and/or poor staff

Last edited by henry1; 13th September 2019 at 12:37.. Reason: reply to another query
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  #4  
Old 13th September 2019, 12:32
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norm.h norm.h is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveM399 View Post
I've watched a few of these programs, and always like to see the engine room bits. I know that manning numbers have been cut since my time in the 70's and 80's, but does the C/E always run around in a boiler suit these days helping out, or is this just for show?
Good question, and one I should perhaps have included in the OP.
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  #5  
Old 13th September 2019, 12:38
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norm.h norm.h is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henry1 View Post
My last trip was in 2014, it was a 2011 VLCC.
Hope the above answers some of what you wanted, large container ships have different equipment and manning.
Yes indeed, very informative - thank you.
More questions - are the oil purifiers fully self-cleaning, are the bilge pumps fully automatic, and what would be the regime for transferring fuel oil from tank to tank?

Last edited by norm.h; 13th September 2019 at 12:44..
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  #6  
Old 13th September 2019, 13:18
henry1 henry1 is offline
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Fully automated purifiers but they are opened for cleaning on running hours basis.
You can have automatic bilge pumps but with mechanical seals and a central fresh water cooling system you do not get much in the bilge, it is usually pumped manually to a bilge holding tank where later when deep sea and not in a prohibited area it can be pumped overboard via the 15ppm OWS.
Fuel oil is an auto transfer pump from bunker tank to settling tank where it is purified to the service tank, the duty engineer will still be checking the settling tank for water on his rounds. Of course if entering US waters you need to change over to low sulphur gas oil before entering their waters, for the EU there are rules for low sulphur fuel oil and some ships have tanks for low sulphur settling and service tanks, you need to be very aware of all the various pollution regulations also for ballast water and sewage.
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  #7  
Old 13th September 2019, 13:42
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Thank you again.
Compared with my limited experiences, it all sounds a bit boring.
No fun like the main breaker jumping out on the evening 8-12 when the bridge switched the radar on!
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Old 18th September 2019, 11:45
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My thanks again to henry1, for his insight into VLCCs, but what of other vessels such as cruise liners, general cargo vessels, and even coasters?
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  #9  
Old 20th September 2019, 10:13
ken thompson ken thompson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norm.h View Post
Good question, and one I should perhaps have included in the OP.
as far as I can remember, as a very junior engineer with brocks, moss tankers and china nav co, chiefy used to stand at the top of the e/r in overalls during standby.
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Old 20th September 2019, 11:53
G0SLP G0SLP is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveM399 View Post
does the C/E always run around in a boiler suit these days helping out, or is this just for show?
Most of us do - getting the jobs done is far less stressful than answering irate emails demanding to know why the Outstanding Jobs list spat out by the computer system is getting longer...
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  #11  
Old 20th September 2019, 19:22
johnBP1 johnBP1 is offline
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Norm.h, go to Utub, lots of new ER videos....
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  #12  
Old 20th September 2019, 20:07
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveM399 View Post
I've watched a few of these programs, and always like to see the engine room bits. I know that manning numbers have been cut since my time in the 70's and 80's, but does the C/E always run around in a boiler suit these days helping out, or is this just for show?
I sailed on two ULCC's as 2\E and I used to dread certain C\E's coming down the engineroom during stand-bys and even worse when flashing up the plant after drydock. I had a serious fallout with two of them ! One was an Italian and the other was a Cornish man ! Fortunately for me, The Engine superintendent and indeed the engineering manager of the manning company were on my side. The company did there best to keep me apart from them The Cornish one was eventually sacked after a disastrous drydocking ! Don't know what happened to the Italian one ? But fortunately I was never asked to sail with him again
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  #13  
Old 20th September 2019, 20:51
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Norm.h, go to Utub, lots of new ER videos....
Thanks will do - fit it in with the rugby
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  #14  
Old 20th September 2019, 21:37
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Originally Posted by stevekelly10 View Post
I sailed on two ULCC's as 2\E and I used to dread certain C\E's coming down the engineroom during stand-bys and even worse when flashing up the plant after drydock. I had a serious fallout with two of them ! One was an Italian and the other was a Cornish man ! Fortunately for me, The Engine superintendent and indeed the engineering manager of the manning company were on my side. The company did there best to keep me apart from them The Cornish one was eventually sacked after a disastrous drydocking ! Don't know what happened to the Italian one ? But fortunately I was never asked to sail with him again
Yes, interfering seniors can be VERY annoying.
I can assure you this doesn't just happen in engineering, marine or otherwise.
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  #15  
Old 21st September 2019, 01:28
Norm Norm is offline  
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On mighty ships on the TV there is always trouble in the ER. The woman with the USA accent always telling us that unless the problem is fixed the "ship will be dead in the water".
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Old 22nd September 2019, 08:18
skilly57 skilly57 is offline  
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Henry - you forgot to mention the PMS!

The Planned Maintenance System covers every piece of machinery on a ship. Some office wallah will give every large & small item of machinery/system a code number, and a planned check/stripdown/maintenance interval based on running hours or time-passed interval.

Every morning one heads down to the MCR, pulls up the day's new list (which also includes previous items not yet completed/overdue, etc, prints it off, and starts delegating jobs.

Depending on the nationality of the previous owner's crews, all the previous records may be total lies, have a mild grain of truth, or actually be totally believable! The latter event has a reasonable chance of happening if the ship was previously manned by a happy western European crew. Indonesian crews normally fall into the first category - as can be quickly determined by opening up a pump, for example, which is listed as just having a total overhaul, only to find the wear rings are flogged out or missing, and the impeller has been worn down to the hub only! Or the engine room air filters being totally choked!

Unfortunately, I base these comments on having picked up numerous off-shore vessels from the afore-said countries.

Skilly
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Old 22nd September 2019, 20:52
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilly57 View Post
Henry - you forgot to mention the PMS!

The Planned Maintenance System covers every piece of machinery on a ship. Some office wallah will give every large & small item of machinery/system a code number, and a planned check/stripdown/maintenance interval based on running hours or time-passed interval.

Every morning one heads down to the MCR, pulls up the day's new list (which also includes previous items not yet completed/overdue, etc, prints it off, and starts delegating jobs.

Depending on the nationality of the previous owner's crews, all the previous records may be total lies, have a mild grain of truth, or actually be totally believable! The latter event has a reasonable chance of happening if the ship was previously manned by a happy western European crew. Indonesian crews normally fall into the first category - as can be quickly determined by opening up a pump, for example, which is listed as just having a total overhaul, only to find the wear rings are flogged out or missing, and the impeller has been worn down to the hub only! Or the engine room air filters being totally choked!

Unfortunately, I base these comments on having picked up numerous off-shore vessels from the afore-said countries.

Skilly
You want to see what happens when there is nothing on the PMS system and something fails ! ended up with us being towed off the loading buoy at Juyamah due to a rather large ingress of water into the engineroom ! and we could not use our main engine ! Come on down, let's play the blame game !
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