Marine Engineers

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 22 Nov 2014, 04:23

Funny isn't it, the investment in naval power in the first 25 years of the 20th century, particularly the big battleships, was perhaps the worst investment in terms of 'bangs per buck' ever made. Meanwhile, the cheap little string-bags in the air above them were changing the face of warfare.... It was easy to sell big ships and big guns to the taxpayer and perversely the Navy Board used their power to oppose any major investment in air power right up to the 1930s. Bombing from the air was far more accurate and destructive than naval gunfire.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Thomo » 23 Nov 2014, 13:03

Let us not forget that the Royal Navy were the first to use aircraft in action and that the Royal Naval Air Service pre dates both the RAF, and RFC. My Fathers ship had one mounted atop one of the midships main turrets. Whilst our Navy is a shadow of its former self, it still sits at the head of experience, hopefully even in this day and age this still counts, Every generation of sailors respected what had gone before and tried to maintain respect for the knowledge gained, I personally believe that this started to diminish at the end of the steam era, and was accelerated by the appliance of equal opportunities and several other PC interests.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 13 Dec 2014, 06:21

Not really an engineering matter but definitely marine news! See THIS for a report about the almost total ban on alcohol brought in by the Canadian Navy. Of course the US has had a total ban for years but it raises the question of whether the Royal Navy might have to follow. The daily tot of rum went some time ago, will there now be a total ban? Bad news for the wardroom?
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Tizer » 13 Dec 2014, 12:08

The RN is said to be `addressing excessive drinking'.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-28789152

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Thomo » 13 Dec 2014, 12:59

It is not uncommon in the Royal Navy for the majority to suffer due to the actions of the few, At one time "bad apples" were sorted out by their more disciplined fellow sailors before any situation could escalate, if this could not be achieved, it would then be passed to higher authority. Modern PC dictates all manner of things that are intended for the good of all, I still believe that the "old way" was the best.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 14 Dec 2014, 01:45

Hi Guys,
An old saying comes to mind.
Man Know Thy Self.

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 15 Dec 2014, 06:08

I've been watching the weather in Northern waters over the last few days and it has been quite exceptional, up to hurricane force yesterday and 50ft waves coming on shore. I always think that somewhere out there are ships, great and small and I constantly marvel how they can survive. I remember instances of bulk ore carriers that vanished without trace and the suspicion was that they broke their backs in exceptional seas and sank so fast that they couldn't get distress calls off. Where do you go for shelter in conditions like these or are modern ships so seaworthy that they can survive the conditions..... My dad used to say "Remember the sailors on a night like this" and I do.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 15 Dec 2014, 12:48

The problem with bulk carriers is if water gets into the hold the cereal is being carried in, it swells causing splits in the hull that's why they go down so fast. The DTI an MCA wanted to make all Crude and Bulk Carriers Double Hulls it just hasn't happened yet.

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 16 Dec 2014, 05:15

Or, if it is iron ore, so heavy...... Just imagine the shock of seeing a large ship fold up in front of your eyes.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 18 Dec 2014, 17:39

On non bridge controlled vessels there are the first and last commands.

Stand By
When on duty Engineers are walking on Broken Glass waiting for the maneuvering command, they are usually running around like headless chickens checking pressures etc.

Finished with Engines
When all the Engineers make a sigh of relief. Especially if you have just arrived in a home port after a several month trip.

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Bodger » 18 Dec 2014, 19:15

A bit of British engineering history
http://www.doxford-engine.com/engines.htm

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 18 Dec 2014, 21:02

I have worked on Doxfords Bodger. Amazing engines vertically opposed pistons. Shipping companies liked them because they got the same power in half the engine room space

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 19 Dec 2014, 05:15

Opposed piston engines always fascinated me. The Rootes Two Stroke diesel was similar, opposing pistons and two crankshafts.....
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Thomo » 19 Dec 2014, 11:45

The one I remember was the Napier Deltic, 18 cylinders in a triangular configuration in banks of 3, 6 pistons per bank, and with a Kaufman starter. They were fitted in the Ton Class Minesweepers and another version in the Deltic railway locomotive.

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Tizer » 19 Dec 2014, 16:58

When I worked at Rank Hovis they once had a ship from South America bring in a load of wheat germ for the company''s Southampton mill. It had been allowed to get warm and by the time it reached here the germ's high oil content had oxidised and fused into a solid mass and it had to be chopped out with pickaxes. They were lucky it didn't burst into flames as well! Wheat germ is very expensive so there was a big loss of money involved too.

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 20 Dec 2014, 05:48

They could have a similar problem with bulk coal as well. Depending on how bituminous it was, it could spontaneously combust. Same problem with dirty sweepings in the mill. They had to be stored outside the mill to comply with insurance requirements. I think that was due to the linseed and other organic oil content.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 04 Jan 2015, 12:54

Its been quite a day for shipwrecks, The CEMFJORD in the Pentland Firth and the Hoegh Osaka in Southampton. What happened to these vessels will no doubt reveal itself.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-nor ... d-30670842

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 05 Jan 2015, 04:44

There was speculation last night that the car carrier in the Solent had been deliberately beached after developing a list. Last night it was reported that the cement carrier has now sunk and that whatever happened was so quick that the crew were most likely trapped in the vessel as she capsized. The weather was bad at the time and they would all have been below battened down. There have been some very bad storms up there in the last few days and those ships at sea are in my thoughts when I listen to the shipping forecast every morning.... Not much flotation value in bags of cement.....
Later.... We have more information about the car carrier. It's confirmed now that the beaching was deliberate. The master wanted to get the ship out of the seaway after it started to develop a list shortly after leaving Southampton. No word yet as to what caused this. The ship has a list of 52degrees at the moment.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Thomo » 05 Jan 2015, 12:09

Whatever happened to the Cemfjord must have been very sudden, but for all the crew to be sealed up below would be akin to committing suicide. The only ones with a valid reason for being below in bad weather would be in the engine room. Of the eight crew, six would probably be watch keepers working 1 in 3, this would put two on watch at any time which under normal conditions would be acceptable, if the remaining six were all asleep, they must not have perceived any threat. If the ship was struck by a very heavy sea on either after quarter, it may have both rolled the ship badly and at the same time depressed the stern, to use an old fashioned term "Pooped". It must have gone down rapidly by the stern which is where all hands would have been, only the air trapped in the bow holding it until depleted through whatever apertures, ie. hawse ports. The other ship on the sand bank does suggest that modern ship building practice does not leave much room for error in stability when loading, the draught being disproportionate to the freeboard. There does not appear to be any stabilizer mechanism fitted, only rapid shifting of ballast and fuel to correct a list being available, a list must be controlled rapidly, and will not cure itself. That they did the right thing in grounding is commendable, yet it should never have come to that.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 05 Jan 2015, 17:01

Quite Right Thomo,
However in the sea conditions that prevailed that night. Standing orders would dictate standby orders thus ensuring watches of six on six off with an extra officer on duty on both bridge and engine room duties. After further reading it appears that the crew numbered 8 Mariners, this is probably due to its size and manning requirements. Think its dwt tonnage was only a couple of thousand tonnes. Its main engine was about 900 HP Giving a top speed of about ten knots. The tides around the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath (Aptly Named) can run at twenty knots and above causing major handling problems for a vessel that size.

The car carrier in the Solent was under the Pilots command. A joint decision was made to ground her thus saving crew members and the shipping lanes from further hazard

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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 06 Jan 2015, 05:29

Looking at the images of the car carrier heeled over on the bank at low tide I was struck by her ugly lines. I suspect that the economics of carrying capacity may have overtaken previous standards of CofG height and general stability. All clever stuff but I wonder what damage has been done to old fashioned concepts of stability and sea worthiness. Remember the Herald of Free Enterprise which rolled over as soon as there was free water sloshing round in the hold?
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Thomo » 06 Jan 2015, 12:39

Quite so Stanley, it is not a thing of great beauty, definitely not a "classic" ship design. Yet if you think in those terms, you should see the book my Son sent me for Christmas, "The Naval Revue of 2015". It appears that only the Italians and French are still capable of producing something functional yet elegant! The remainder look like something from a sci fi magazine. Top of this list must be the Norwegian Skold Class FACs, Fast Attack Craft, a hybrid if ever there was one. A combination of Catamaran, Hovercraft and stealth, but to knock it is not fair, this beast despite its appearance can achieve 60 knots. At the other end of all of this futuristic Naval hardware is one ship that I recognise, having been on board it in 1973, this the Bangladeshi Navy's Farooq, ex HMS Llandaff, a Salisbury Class Frigate and still looking pretty good. There is a world of difference between Naval and Commercial ship design, for instance, if the Titanic had been built to Naval specifications, it would probably have survived, this specification demands no open bulkheads below the weather deck, when closed up this prevents the "domino" effect, or water passing over from one compartment to the next. Modern car ferries no longer have intercostal or longitudinal bulkheads, these prevent what is called free surface flooding, where a body of water can move quickly from one side of a vessel to the other creating a dramatic roll effect, usually fatal for a ship of disproportionate draught. If that car ferry already had a list when leaving Southampton it should have been dealt with there and then before it became critical.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 07 Jan 2015, 05:39

The vessel that always surprised me was the Calmac Ferry Loch Mor. It had a high superstructure in order to cope with disembarking at Canna at Low tide and yet was wonderfully seaworthy. I have been on it in a Force 10 gale and even though almost totally submerged it always felt safe. Years later Janet showed me a picture she took in the Straits of Magellan, some of the worst seas in the world there, it was the sister ship of the Loch Mor Built by Ailsa Engineering as a lighthouse tender for the Chilean navy. I showed it to the Calmac men at Mallaig and they weren't aware of it but one of them told me later I was quite right, he was interested as well and had made a few enquiries. It was built at the same time as the Loch Mor. A tough little boat. I see from WIKIPEDIA she is now in kinder waters running pleasure cruises on the Jurassic Coast.
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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Invernahaille » 07 Jan 2015, 13:45


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Re: Marine Engineers

Post by Stanley » 08 Jan 2015, 05:26

It's big isn't it Robert.....
My memory of Felixtowe goes back to the 1960s when what was a failing port had been taken over by a private operator and they took cargoes nobody else would touch like a cargo of Egyptian spuds infested with scorpions... but that's another and far longer story. I doubt if I would recognise it today. This goes for the other ports I carried loads out of, London and Liverpool being the prime examples. These were the wonders of the world at the time but are now quiet backwaters and heritage sites.... Progress eh?
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