Mahendra Singh

Mahendra Singh

This is the third installment on watch keeping in what looks like what might be a total of five continued from Newsletter 40:

AIR COMPRESSORS: They are also very important. Regular overhauling of valves and cleaning inter-coolers and checking the moisture drains. Keep an eye on the attached Lub Oil pump. This needs to be renewed after 8000RH. Check your manual to see if you also have non return valves in the line after the lubricator and carefully overhaul them ( TANABE compressors). Periodically check the filling rate. There is no need to take cut off to 30 Kg, 25 is good enough. Check the cooling water pump impeller as well. At times you will find pipes also blocked. To reduce running hours of Main Air Compressors, keep Deck Air Compressor in good working condition.

AIR BOTTLES: Check that these are being drained of moisture from the correct place and drainage content is visible in the funnel below the drain pipe. Keep standby bottles also moisture free. Correct operation of the AIR DRIER is also very necessary. If the air is dry you will not have problems with various pneumatic valves . Check the various service air lines. Check the air line to foghorn. The foghorn solenoid valve gets jammed at times in cold areas and sometimes the diaphragm may be broken.

 DRAINS: It is very useful to familiarize oneself with all the drains in the engine room. It will take time but will give good knowledge. Similarly familiarize yourself with small tanks like F.O.and L.O. sludge tank, F.O. and L.O. drain tanks; The Scavenge drain tank, bilge separated oil tank (BSOT) and stuffing box drain tank. What to do with stuffing box drained oil? Check your company instructions and fittings on your ship to deal with it such as CGC filter and purifier. Be careful in using this oil again. Can use in M/E sump but not for camshaft Lub Oil (that too after analysis).

 PURIFIERS: Keep the throughput of the fuel to less than 1/3 of the capacity of F.O. Purifier. Keep cleaning the F.O. and L.O. Purifiers regularly and check their drives and Lub oil level. Effective purification and cleaning the filters (including fuel oil transfer pump filter) are the key to good combustion. Do not mix the oils in the bunker tanks and use the bunker after analysis and follow their instructions with regard to purification and F.O. temperature. This is another equipment which needs plenty of onboard discussion, watch the CD given by manufacturers. Do not forget to clean operating water filters periodically. Similarly, clean associated heaters on both sides (steam and oil) and keep photos towards CSM Survey (Continuous Survey Machinery). Choose the correct gravity disc. Renew vertical and horizontal shaft bearings once a year. Check the steam outlet line from the bunker tanks, they have a drain cock from which condensate can be collected in a clean vessel to see if there is any oil. Once in 2 years on a ballast voyage check an empty tank for any leakage on the steam heating coils. Open the steam after descending in tank (take precautions) and hissing noise can be heard or even seen if coil is leaking. Temporary repairs are often good till opportunity to make permanent repair.

 BOILER:  During your stay on board regularly study the boiler manual and check all fittings on the boiler. Blow through the gauge glass at least once a week. These days very few engineers are doing this. Do not purely rely on remote gauge glass but check local gauge glass. Discuss if the boiler water low level alarm comes when main engine is running, what action to take. Do not forget the economizer circulating pump. Normally people get busy sending water to boiler and circulating pump is running dry and engine on full speed. If you are having problems sending water to boiler, reduce speed after telling bridge to slow ahead. Call for assistance from all engineers. Do not keep on struggling yourself at the feed pump. View things in totality. Generally we are slow in reacting. Raise Engineers alarm.

 Keep cleaning boiler burner regularly and ensure that when the boiler is not firing, that no oil is going to furnace via any leaking valves. If the boiler misfires once, check the furnace front by suitable means to ensure that there is no remnant oil in the furnace and adequate pre-purge has been achieved.  In very cold climates check on the condition and extent of air going into the boiler. On car carriers you have to adjust the boiler in such a way that it runs continually during port stay and does not cut in and cut off because No Smoke Emission is important  on car carriers (avoid soot falling on the cars lined up ashore). These days in EU Ports we have to keep boilers and Generators running on LSGO (Low Sulfur Gas Oil) with Sulphur content within 0.1% so be well familiar with switching over precautions (Air lock, filters getting blocked, leaks at solenoids etc;). Record fuel switch over in Engine Log book and ORB. Please check and keep essential spares like the belt for the combustion equipment, depending on make of boiler. Also FD (Forced Draft) fan bearings. Some timers and other electrical items connected with boiler automation , a flame eye should also be held as spare.

 Good boiler operation means good feed water control, cascade tank level, temperature and filters. Keep both feed pumps and both circulating pumps always operational. If one circulating pump is running and other one is not working, make it working at the earliest because if running pump stops you will have a hell of a time. For this keep circulating pump valves in good condition so that you can effectively close them. Cleaning of the dump condenser plays an important part. Check that the dump condenser cooling water pipes are not blocked or corroded. The outlet pipe may be found corroded. The cascade tank is generally not taken care of well. Keep its filters clean and keep the temperature optimum, not very hot nor cold (55 to 60 Deg C). Keep the low level alarm functional. In olden days we used to have Loofa sponges on top to absorb oil and impurities. Checking cascade tank top once daily is a good habit.

FW GENERATOR: The Fresh Water Generator functions as an additional cooler and is important on old ships. Keep heat exchanger and condenser clean. Pay attention to condensate pump and motor. Performance will be good if Ejector pump pressure is good (5 Kg plus).Keep an eye on ejector pump motor temperature. Attain good vacuum for good running and for that keep suspect areas coated with grease to prevent air ingress. Check if you have any spare nozzle tips. Heat exchanger cleaning is best achieved by pocking the tubes with flexible wooden cane (bamboo cane). The non return flap valve is also to be check. Keep the condenser clean. The condensate pump and its electric motor should also be checked.

 SEWAGE PLANT: Sewage plant discharge pump is very important. Keep the filter clean and motor free from moisture ingress. Keep spare compressor vanes. If the compressor is not working on an old ship, an air connection from service air line can be rigged.

On car carriers we have a vacuum system so please familiarize yourself with this and clean the rod for level detection in the tank. Also check the system behind the toilet seat (open the cover behind and look for any leakage inside). Avoid putting cigarette buts and tooth picks in the system. At times we may have to blow through the lines using the plug behind the valve. Keep chlorine tablets in spare and follow safety instructions. USCG will ask for approval number of the plant so keep handy beforehand from manual or name plate. Check sewage pipe lines on various decks as also standard discharge connection. Keep marked by stencil. Read the company instructions and other publications on the dangers involving Hydrogen Sulphide gas. We should also have an arrangement ready for sewage containment, if needed, and this should preferably be class approved with well defined instructions for use.

 That’s all for now until next issue!



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