Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Tour of the Engine Room

Yesterday I got to do real engineer things. In the morning I helped replace a four inch thick butterfly valve in the fire main system, unscrewing things, cleaning the bolts out with a wire grinder thingy, then showing them to the QMED who said that all of the cleaning he had told me to do was pointless because we have to replace them all anyway. So then we cut bolts straight from long stock bars, and that was cool. The valve worked.

Then we serviced the emergency generator, which involved replacing three filters and replace a bunch of oil, which really meant that my job was to catch oil pouring out of places that it shouldn't, then pour it into somewhere better. I made zero mess and broke nothing, which means I won the job.

Last night, while at sea, the deckhands were called out at 2AM. I thought that maybe something had gone wrong, or perhaps that we were tying up suddenly to avoid weather, but mostly I didn't think about it too much and went back to sleep. I heard him coming in a few more times and heard them washing the deck above me, but the full significance of that didn't really hit me at the time. Today we spent the entire day pretty far out in Lake Huron, easily in legal to rinse waters, it warmed up nicely, and the deckhands were given most of the day off. The question then is why on earth they were woken up at 2AM to do a job they could just as easily have done during normal working hours. That question seems to have no answer.

I have been meaning to take pictures of the engine room for you, but didn't get around to it until now. It being now, enjoy a brief tour of the engine room.

At the very bottom of the ship is the tunnel. The sloped ceiling to the left is the underside of the cargo hold, and beneath it is the conveyor belt system

The steering gear. The two wheels can move the rudder manually in the event of an emergency, though I expect it would be no fun. The middle bit is connected directly (more or less) to the rudder.

One of four machine shops. There are four more shelves of the same size to the left around the corner.

The nice machine shop. Smaller, but more complete and well organized.

Here is a cat. Behind it is another workbench, and to either side is another cat. These are our three electrical generators. Only one runs during normal operations, but we fire up another to run thrusters or winches, and all three are required to run the conveyor belt.

This is about a quarter of the valves and pipes that run water around the ship. Most of the maze of piping is under the grates. It took two hours for me to diagram the entire system for Piney Point, walking around a maybe 20'x20' zone following pipes back and forth.

The main event, two medium speed diesel engines. These are about eight feet tall.

This shaft, the width of my entire body, spins when we are moving to drive the propeller. 

Another view, this one of all three floors. The central chamber of the engineering room is really big.

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