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Introduction to Marine Refrigeration

I completed my 5 year apprenticeship with J&E Hall Ltd, Dartford as a fitter on the 9th Aug 58 and immediately joined P&O as a Ref Engr. On my first day I was sent as dock staff to the M.V. Cannanore berthed in KG5 Dock North Woolwich to relieve the ship’s Ref Eng while he went on leave. These types of vessel only carried the one Ref Engr.

After a short introduction he took me down to the Fridge Flat to show me round. On entering the Fridge Flat I got the surprise of my life. In front of me was this single monstrous horizontal twin cylinder reciprocating steam engine, and directly linked to the piston at the other end of the steam cylinder was the piston rods of a horizontal twin cylinder CO2 compressor. I’d seen a few horizontal CO2 compressors directly coupled to an electric motor but all I could think of was the picture I’d once seen of the Titanic’s fridge machines. She had four machines like the tandem m/c above.

A steam refridge machine on a motor ship? The boiler must have had more spare capacity than the diesel gennies. Anyway I was shown where the steam valves were and how to drain the steam lines down etc. I was also shown where the various sea water and brine pumps were and then left on my own. I’d been in a factory for 5 years and although I’d built vertical 8"X 8" quad cylinder and 5"x 4" and 7"x 5½" V and W direct coupled and multi-belt driven compressors but apart from being shown around a few ships by my two close friends (they were Harland &Wolff apprentices) the above type of CO2 compressor and its driver was completely alien. This first day with P&O was a very steep learning curve. The only other ship in the fleet like her was her sister the M.V. Coromandel.

Luckily I lived in Plumstead just across the river from the Royal Docks and after I’d shut down at night I could walk round to the pedestrian tunnel by Woolwich Ferry, cross the river and walk home and discuss my exciting day.

Roger Monk
 

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Introduction to Marine Refrigeration

I completed my 5 year apprenticeship with J&E Hall Ltd, Dartford as a fitter on the 9th Aug 58 and immediately joined P&O as a Ref Engr. On my first day I was sent as dock staff to the M.V. Cannanore berthed in KG5 Dock North Woolwich to relieve the ship’s Ref Eng while he went on leave. These types of vessel only carried the one Ref Engr.

After a short introduction he took me down to the Fridge Flat to show me round. On entering the Fridge Flat I got the surprise of my life. In front of me was this single monstrous horizontal twin cylinder reciprocating steam engine, and directly linked to the piston at the other end of the steam cylinder was the piston rods of a horizontal twin cylinder CO2 compressor. I’d seen a few horizontal CO2 compressors directly coupled to an electric motor but all I could think of was the picture I’d once seen of the Titanic’s fridge machines. She had four machines like the tandem m/c above.

A steam refridge machine on a motor ship? The boiler must have had more spare capacity than the diesel gennies. Anyway I was shown where the steam valves were and how to drain the steam lines down etc. I was also shown where the various sea water and brine pumps were and then left on my own. I’d been in a factory for 5 years and although I’d built vertical 8"X 8" quad cylinder and 5"x 4" and 7"x 5½" V and W direct coupled and multi-belt driven compressors but apart from being shown around a few ships by my two close friends (they were Harland &Wolff apprentices) the above type of CO2 compressor and its driver was completely alien. This first day with P&O was a very steep learning curve. The only other ship in the fleet like her was her sister the M.V. Coromandel.

Luckily I lived in Plumstead just across the river from the Royal Docks and after I’d shut down at night I could walk round to the pedestrian tunnel by Woolwich Ferry, cross the river and walk home and discuss my exciting day.

Roger Monk
Good morning Roger, that would have been a eye opening experience.
Go to my opening post under the Engineroom thread "refrigeration Engineers" in 2009 for an ongoing string of RE stories ,
 
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