A 2/E’s Experience :

(His personal views)

In the year 2001, I had just finished my contract on board a vessel of a particular company. I was on leave when a friend of mine who was Asst. Manager (Personnel) in this company and presently is as a Manager (Fleet personnel in some other company, and very earnestly requested for a help. He wanted me to join a vessel of his present company as 2nd Engineer since the 2nd Engineer onboard was sent on leave on a medical ground. I obliged for the friendliness sake and joined the vessel just on condition that I will be relieved after 1 ½ months.

When I went onboard the vessel which was in Calcutta port, I noticed the E/R was in very bad shape. M/E JCW was leaking everywhere and the bilge p/p was not working properly. No engineer knows the proper system. Only C/E was knowing things and was managing the show. The house keeping of the E/R was very poor. However, I just thought I am going to be there for 1 ½ month only, so let me manage and will do whatever I can, during this period. The M/E all units (Mitubishi Akasaka) were overhauled, all exhaust manifold leaks were bad, the H.O. & L.O purifier were not working properly, one compressor was in bad condition. With the spares available, onboard we were somehow managing. Most of the time people were busy in purifiers, bilge p/p & compressor. One day in Singapore anchorage, when I was finishing my watch, I found the E/R was flooded and the water was almost to the floor plates.

Immediately, C/E was informed and the whole E/R was checked for leaks after closing all the S/W v/vs. But we could not find any leak in that situation. So the shore people were called for pumping the water out and when they lowered the water, we found, a S/W pipe leading to the M/E L.O. cooler which was well below the bilges had a very big hole and water was gushing with full force. None of the S/W v/vs in that system were holding. Some how, with cycle tubes and marlin rope we reduced the leak and with shore assistance the pipes were changed, after putting the necessary blanks. I resigned after one month’s stay having learnt a good lesson.

The lessons learnt by me by this experience are :

1) Never to oblige anybody’s request when the request is like the one I had.Keep the friendship and profession separate.

2)Do not hesitate to report the condition of the ship to the company after making the taking over condition report even though the contract may be for a very short period.

On that day morning about 0830 hrs heard and saw people (yard workers) running out saying fire, fire.I tried to go near to the fire from ECR deck to cops. Due to the smoke and the skell couldn’t see and approach the same. Mean while general alarm was sounded, people (ER staff) assembles in ECR, isolated ER electrically and evacuated. Also the dock fire fighting department was engaged in trying to put off the fix by various methods.

They also abandoned as the smoke, smell and access ability to the point was difficult. Later decided to flood ER with foam through the opened hatch. After about 10 hrs of filling, the smoke stopped coming out of tunnel.

Next day morning attempt was made to astern ER. Found ECR was completely mangled and destroyed. Below ECR, two decks where all compressors, turbo gen. and other aux were net damaged at all. On cop deck near # 3 cop fire & G/S pump started box was burnt.--On investigation found, one of the yard worker started welding on to the bulkhead near #3 and there the fire started. Came along the cables to ECR which caused the damage in ECR. How ever no damage was in pump room. Since the boundary cooling started on bunker tank top and sides, there was no further / cause around this, during foam filling. On that day morning also a chemist had certified ER gas face.

Suspect one of the acetelyne header connections where ship on coupling were used was leading and the gas settled down caught fire when welding started.

Further extra precaution permits, fire watches, were organized during repairs. Also a debatable point was regarding disabling the ships fixed fire fighting system.

It took almost 8 million US$ and about seven and a half months for the ship to sail out, with many modifications one controls and other system.

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