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Disasters - Challenges

Over the years we spent at sea a lot of us will have faced some considerable challenges which when we look back we can “Smile” about. Obviously the Oriana boiler room fire was a major incident but what other incidents has anyone faced and may wish the share?

Re: Disasters - Challenges

Being aboard M.V. Soudan after a the massive engine explosion, which killed a number of engine room staff

Where are you from: Northern Ireland

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

This subject is going to open a Pandoras box. However. On my last trip on Himalaya, between Capetown and Las Palmas I was rudely awakened at 2 a.m. with the disturbing news that there was boiler trouble and all steam would be lost.
And there go the generators! The Chief Electrician was in hospital with a heart condition so bring on the sub. Not quite the drawback this might seem. I mention no names. On the generator flat I shut down the fridge, Galley and having got the emergency diesel started put it on the board. In other words took off all the non-essentials and running on the diesel. The capacity of this was 175 amps! Not a lot.There were 200 vent fans on the Himalaya and in many cases the face plate starters did not fall off.I cut the story short, steam was restored and I went up to the F.D. fan and pushed the contactor in with a packet of Rothmans bit by bit until it was running. Concious of the load on the diesel,and this was borderline. End of story. Steam was restored and we then set about starting the 200 vent fans. This takes 5 mins to write, It took longer at the time.A 30000 ton vessel with no power and 1200 passengers and crew is a serious event. We did it!

Where are you from: originally Gosport now Campbelltown

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

I think I had an uneventful time at sea, no real disasters there. The only incident I can recall was an economiser fire on Oriana where as 'Boilers' I was sent forward with a very young Dave Jewkes. The evidence is seen by following the link (if it works) http://www.seadogs-reunited.com/Dogs%20E-I_files/image021.jpg

Whilst writing may i wish all a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2017

Where are you from: Glasgow, and actually at home (as its approaching the Christmas)

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

We had a major disaster when we were flying home from Suva with Danair, WE RAN OUT OF GROG!!!!!!!!!!!

Where are you from: Sydney

Re: Disasters - Challenges

One OTHER worthy challenge during my time on Oriana David, was when we blew a steam joint gasket on the main supply pipe to the Port HP turbine. This was at high level between the main condensers.

This happened between Cape Town and Durban in 1971. The noise was incredible while we kept steaming to Durban on both engines, being wary to keep away from the screaming leak. As soon as we reached Durban we started stripping away the floor racking, insulation, etc. I happened to be on daywork, as was Dave Betts from memory. I remember the S2E, Maurice Tate, being there, as was the 1st Engineer, Bob Stewart.

The pipe was a very heavy cast unit and there was a 2" thick spacer piece between the flanges. The spacer piece was drilled to take the 2"(Approx) flange bolts, not just sitting inside the bolt circle.

The removal and cleaning of the joint surfaces went fairly well but the re-assembly was very difficult and time consuming. As the system cooled and contracted, the alignment of the holes had changed and it was very difficult to replace the bolts through the flanges and spacer piece. The Boilermaker was on hand heating the pipe with oxy-accetelene while I remember standing on a handrail for hours trying to align the holes and fit the bolts.

When the bolts were finally in place, the process of tightening them began, using flogging spanners and other spanners with long pipe levers with the Boilermaker heating the pipework. This was murder, as the contraction made it extremely difficult to get the joint faces together. The effort continued for hours until we day workers were relieved after around 12 Hours and the watch keepers took over, much to their displeasure.

I remember when I was called for standby for the departure from Durban, the watch keepers were very pissed off with us, as it had taken them many more hours to get the joints sealed.

Dave Betts may be able to add to this or correct any of my memory errors.

Where are you from: Bilgola - Sydney Northern Beaches

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

Greg, I remember this job pretty well. The joint had been blowing for quite a while but Chief Mazo was very anxious that any work on it would not cause port delays so it was not until we had decent port time that it was attempted. Yes, the dismantling went pretty well, surprisingly for us, but, as you say the box-up a little more problematic! The main difficulty later in the job was getting the joint faces parallel. The "double-gasket" arrangement with the face insert made the joint very cumbersome to manipulate and, yes us day workers were relieved late in the job much to our relief in completing it! I recall that the J/2E led the relief team.I cannot remember his name. he was something of a hermit, but mustard on the job and totally unflappable. Great guy. I remember he adjusted the Gland steam controllers in the boiler room in a master/slave arrangement that cured the general struggle with gland steam supply when manoeuvring.
Happy Days!

Where are you from: Eastleigh, Hants

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

The J2E you mentioned was Don Hibbert. I remember that I had trouble understanding his accent when on watch with him. I would ask him to repeat over and over what he was saying to me and he would get very irate. Sometimes I would give up and walk away hoping whatever he had asked me to do wasn't too important.

Where are you from: Bilgola - Sydney Northern Beaches

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

Yes, that's right. I remember now but not a problem with his accent! He was pretty smart though although a bit bemused by the Oriana set up I think - and Maury Tate!

Where are you from: Eastleigh, Hants

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

It took a long time to get the awful smell of burnt flesh out of my nostrils,it was a very unforgetable voyage home on one engine

Where are you from: Northern Ireland

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

Don Hibbert could never be called a happy man. I think the accent problem was more difficult for me, being Australian.

This reminds me of a humorous time when Maurice Tate dug up an old pneumatic actuated valve from somewhere and had the watches try to bring it back to life. After not much progress over a few watches, Tate asked me to put it together. It was just junk and I told him that there were parts missing.

Next time I saw Don Hibbert, he was wading through the Starboard bilge, feeling for something with his feet. He had thrown parts of the valve in there in a rage at the time wasting exercise.

We never saw the valve again.

Where are you from: Bilgola - Sydney Northern Beaches

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

Ha! Old Tate was a character, but what a smoothie. You remember Gibb? He had a low opinion of Maury which was reciprocated, but as Maury was the S2E it was a bit one sided. Tate's stock question in respect of some "issue" was "Was it Gibb"! I remember Gibb asking Maury what a stud-bolt was and it was obvious he did not know but gave Gibb a bullshit answer that I quite admired!
Happy Days!

Where are you from: Eastleigh, Hants

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Re: Disasters - Challenges

I sailed on MV Somali, sister ship to the MV Soudan and Billy Reay’s article re the engine explosion on the Soudan interested me.

Checking the internet revealed very little info regarding the explosion. P&O Heritage site Fact Sheet didn’t mention it, although the Himalaya’s refrigeration explosion in 1956 killing 4 people is mentioned..

There was a small article on the Ship Nostalgia site and that’s about it.

However, I was surprised how much info there was on Google regarding crankcase explosions and scavenge fires, etc.

Roger Monk

Where are you from: Dartfrd Kent

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