Ships Nostalgia banner

Oil filled Stern Tubes

2597 Views 39 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Dave Lambert
I was working at a shipyard in Tampa when they were building 5 tankers. They were ER aft jobs, so only ashort length of shafting in the ER. On the LOP system they had the ability to purify the stern tube. You had oil filled seals with a header tank on the inboard and outboard ends, plus the oil around the shaft to lubricate it with a header tank also.

We get back from trials so next day thought I would line up a LOP on this system. I ended up pulling water into the stern tube so something was obviously wrong with the system.

Never came across anything like this before. As long as your seals were ok and you had that head of oil above the water line than you shouldn't have any leaks inboard only outboard.
Though it was US designed and built and had some really backward designs.
Anybody come across this set up before?
Wood Naval architecture Building Watercraft Engineering

Finished ship image to follow when on PC. this was 1st of 5.
Ocean Product Tankers Inc.
Due to a senior management faux pas the 2nd hull was ready first. They all started with Ocean ........ names which would be easier on the tongue , but reverted to the US tradition of naming them after seamen who had won medals which ended up with long Italian names complete with the inevitable middle i initial included such as Lawrence S Giannella and similar mouthfulls over VHF.
Even the Chinese names were better like Wan Long Dong and the like.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 15 of 40 Posts
I aggree with you Captain Confusion, but that's Yankee engineering. The people designing these ships used to build Lakers for carrying iron ore and it seemed they were cheap and cheerful but never went deep sea.
They were the same ships with the CJC tank and pump which you can see in the port aft corner of the image. Bottom plates were all open grid and any deck above was checker plate, no teledips on fuel tanks or LO tanks, just sounding pipes. It was a right performance when they came to check the fuel consumption on trials. The Mechanical Design boss came up with this roughly meter cube tank on top of the control room which was connected to the fuel system, it had a sounding pipe , not sure if it had a weighted cock, but the hot HFO was foaming and shooting up the sounding pipe.
They already had two certified fuel meters in the system, one on the supply and one on the return, but he didn't trust them.
It wasn't a success. If Sulzer says the engine burns X kg/bhp/ hr calculated on a test bed and by mathematics then that should be good enough. How was his mickey mouse system going to prove otherwise. It looked good paper I suppose. On subsequent ships they didn't bother. Looked too dangerous to me.
See less See more
I think I just sucked the oil out the stern tube, which means there was a design problem somewhere.
If the gravity disc was wrong it would have just acted as a pump, but they were Lavals and commissioned by them.
I was on a new ship out of the shipyard where the HOP & DOP still had gravity discs in from the test in the factory that didn't even appear in the manufacturers official spares list. They were just acting as pumps.
They were Westfalias, perhaps Rio was too far to send somebody.
I just wondered if anybody had come across a LOP plumbed into the stern tube as well. The way it was piped up you could have sucked it out the stern tube and discharged to the ME sump if you hadn't lined it up right.
You have more chance of the seals leaking outwards than inwards.

I got 2 pkts of yellow squash and 2 pkts of zuchini into plant pots yesterday. Next is sweetcorn then tomatoes on a windless day.
Fresh sweetcorn is best straight out the garden and cooked, finger licking good.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Brian, it was a long time ago, 1984, just after leaving the the Mandama, my first job in the US.
What do they use now instead of gravity discs?

Did you hear about Dudley Eckworth, crossed the final bar this month, dementia.
Who did you end up with after the demise of BSL?
Did you have any trouble with these new puri's, failed sensors etc. Still had the plates I assume and auto cleaning like the A boats.
The RBS thing sounds a bit like the Greek/ Monrovian high jinks with their fleets. Mind you old Vestey was at it from way back, every ship a stand alone company, he had various companies round the world like Lion Shipping, Calmeda (sounds more of a social disease), Austasia, some South American outfit. Then the registered office in a back street in Paris.
There were no flies on him.
I have seen Harry since the Mandama, at our Duty Mess Lunch in the Sunderland area, it was just getting going when Covid put the blocks on it. Met up with Keith Gladman a couple of times and saw Keith Eade at a Liverpool reunion.

Have you ever come across a stern tube that has been piped up to a LOP?
Dudley was ok until he had a few drinks, then he would become a bit punchy from all accounts. I sailed with him after he had been promoted to Master for a few years on the America Star.
I believe you live in Oxfordshire, I am down in Newbury.

Wonder if those two engadets ever made anything of themselves, or became actors. They seem to like dressing up.
When we were in Freemantle they cut a road sign down in the docks and brought it to the ship, they couldn't even cut it straight perhaps far too much to drink. That didn't go down very well with all concerned. Not sure what happened afterwards, that was between Harry and the OM.
I am in touch with Dave Richards who took over the 2nds job after me. Both he and Keith Gladman got their redundancies after they got off. I resigned to get married and go ashore.
See less See more
As posts tend to move on to related topics, we don't always keep on point so you have to read previous posts to keep up. I was at Hull for 2nds and Chiefs Motor and S.Shields for part A Extras 10 years later after working in the States.
The shaft and stern tube bearing was as you assume with one line shaft bearing after the thrust block. The HFO was mentioned by Brian whilst describing the new purifiers without gravity discs.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Chal, You must also have a first's ticket in the Diplomatic Service.

Regards, John.
Assuming he is a member of the deck department we can cut him a bit of slack, he is trying!
I have not been noted for diplomacy in my working life so it must be old age mellowing me.
Yes know Dave Taylor (ex Blue Star), he used to run a pre-sea class for apprentices thinking of going to sea, it was based on 2nds EKs in Motor, Steam & General, then I met up with him when doing part B 2nds & Chiefs. Dave was Deputy head of the department and looked after the Admin for ticketed courses.
Ted Barnet was head honcho of the Marine department which also covered Cadets. Ted took a class of Motor EK's in Chiefs to keep his hand in.
I think Ron Pyewell looked after admin for some of the cadets, he was ex deck I believe and took Naval Arch.
There was a Naval Arch from Dunstans, (local shipyard) that took ship construction in 2nds.
Then there was Stan the Man for Electro, definately one of the lads, sense of humour. He must have been scream in the bar at sea.
2nds pt A jan 75, B Jan 78 1st class A Sept 78, B Jan 82.
I as up as soon as I had enough sea time.
Looks like I was stiil serving my time when you was up at Hull and could have been another head of Dept before Ted. I heard his name mentioned but don't know if he moved to Queens Gardens.
It is no longer a Tech College but has dubious University status unlike the red brick university on Cottingham road.
My dabble at Extras was a bridge to far too late, my previous life hadn't prepared me for the eye watering Maths of that course. Failed all subjects and got a job with the Insurance Inspection industry, inspecting pressure vessels, perhaps more than your Lloyds surveyor would, plus I was home each night not in some far flung place in the world.

Dave Taylor once told me that you always got a tribe of Patels & Khans coming down from Shields to Hull for the exam as they thought we got easier exams in Hull because the pass rate was higher. Same exams, same caliber of lecturers, which meant there was only one other variable, but they couldn't work that out.
I have a sheet of schematics in the loft of the oil system, I will scan it and put it up on the post to prevent confusion.
See less See more
Why did you do your tickets in Hull when you was local to Shields?
MN Hotel in Hull was popular with officers up for their tickets.
With your Extras what Offshore work did it allow you to do?
Having dug out the schematics it would seem that should the ship be going into drydock then the oil in the sterntube could be pumped out using one of the purifiers into LO storage tank preventing oil spillage in the dry dock bottom, then gravitated back once boxed up. For normal running there was a drain tank with electric heating coils,a small pump and discharge filter. There were two thermo couples at the after end of stern tube, a working and a spare.
The tankers were built as Ice Class 4, so perhaps the oil would be heated below a certain temperature, the pump kept running even when stopped. The engine was a 5 RTA 76 Sulzer, 15,300 MCR @ 95 rpm with a PTO 750KW with three 3516 Caterpillars.
Initially there was a lot of problems with the clutch/ coupling of the PTO.
A English supt said he wanted the cats shut off and to run on the PTO on trials. Then he told them to go from Full ahead to Slow Astern. The cats were self starters.
Of course the shipyard said you cannot do that. He said the ship might have to even from FSS.
He warned me and said keep well away from the turbos as they could bang a bit.
Well she did it. Stop blackout, cat start up and go on the board, all the pumps start up then fire up Astern. Bit of noise, puff of smoke but nothing fell off.
See less See more
dear oh dear, i am a liverpudlian from a seagoing family, raised schooldays leeds, so I could not as a lancky play for yorkshire cricket, again so hull was nearest to my leeds base. Why offshore and shields for the extras. I was sponsered by AUNTIE BOT? and worked in the shipping department of DOT/MSA, newcastle and London then HSE Offshore based in LONDON, then Norwich But travelled the UK OFFSHORE Industry, as a marine surveyor.
NICKName i spout confusion, hence my fellow engineers called me captain confusion. Are you confused??? I trust not.
Got you. Did you ever have to mark exam papers or conduct orals at any point?
Old Barr was BOT in Hull, not sure if he was related to my old Maths teacher at school, same name and build, never thought ask at the time, you are all keyed up.

My writing was so bad on a couple of papers for Chiefs he failed me and passed the message to Dave Taylor to suggest I used a fountain pen which would slow my writing down and make it legible. If I had been sitting medical exams I may have been ok as Drs writing was known to be attrocious and they probly went to the same schools as the dispensing chemist so they all wrote the same.
I did apply for a job with BOT to do with the fishing industry but they wanted Extras. Lloyds was the same, but they had to relax because Graduates of Marine or Mechanical hadn't the experience and there was a bit of a wastage rate. Don't think they liked the idea of crawling about in a crankcase or boiler, yet ex Merch it didn't worry them.
Did you ever have to use any of the fancy Maths from Extras.
Seemed to remember something called Matrices, I always thought that was some how connected with the master, mistress and mattress.
Then there was sampling for QA and a bunch of funny formulas, never needed that when sampling different beers. Didn't see where that came into ships and one offs. The Maths chap at Shields had been a production engineer, which I can see the relevance. Dry old stick he was. The rest of the lecturers were ex Merch.
Old Calvert, took us for Hydrodynamics & Fluids, would say to us if he was looking at our work, ' Let the dog see the rabbit' or 'If you don't know what your looking for, you will never find it' . He was a bit of a north countryman, probably had a ferret or two at home.
It was all interesting stuff that came in handy when boiler surveying. But I reached retirement without entering the 'work house' (where the snow was raining fast). If you don't try you will never know.
See less See more
Check your pm's Brian.
ST, I hate to carp, but shouldn't that be "hinders natural selection"?
Varley, it works either way for me, but I will change it, well I was but couldn't find where, checked account details, signature etc. No sign of it.

A'ha, its only on the Sternchallis not the Chalisstern.
That name change was due to Google poking its nose in and upsetting the apple cart.
Happy with that Varley?
Cpt C, sounds like you was never anywhere long enough to get unpacked, but probably an interesting life.
With respect to the research vessel that fell over in Leith, who would carry out the investigation? BOT or HSE? Or between them.
1 - 15 of 40 Posts