Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Year Gone ?

Here we are again, another year on it's last legs and Christmas Day only two days away.

Last week I made an emergency stop at my garage with my truck running only on the battery as the alternator had packed it in.
Of course, one week before Christmas, we all know what the bank account is like and I was a bit upset. Jim, the shop manager drove me into work and he started off the trip by telling me about one of his other regular customers who had been in the week before. This gentleman worked at a alcohol and drug rehab and Jim asked him if they were busy. He told him no, that this time of year they mainly are dealing with suicides.
A wise man, Jim is, without another word, he reminded me how lucky I am. Even with the nasty days at work wondering what job I'm going to have next week and dealing with the deaths of some good friends and the everyday issues we all have, on Christmas Eve, I will be loading up the truck with gifts and my German Shepard and heading to New Brunswick to spend Christmas with my family. It will be loud, people will be in and out all day and I will spend my time huddled by the wood stove because it will be undoubtedly cold in that 200 year old house, but I'll be home.
My best wishes go out to those at sea during this time of year and away from their families. Even with the modern communications it still is a lonely time for these seafarers.

Merry Christmas to my friends and I hope that next year will bring them better times and fortunes.

As for my truck, it was a credit card charge that was too close to the $600 mark for my liking. Turned out the battery was shot as well.
But hey, the night before I had been on the highway in a snowstorm towing a horse could have been worse, right?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm still alive ! I had a "family emergency", so I had to rush home from sea over a week ago, and I have been busy ever since. That's why I've been unable to make any new post here on the blog - hopefully I will pick it up in the next week or two.

I am just taking a minute now to wish you, at sea and at home, hopefully the later, a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous New Year. I hope the positive vibes transcends borders and backgrounds and extends to you and yours, during this holiday season, from out little family in Canada, and our community here at Martin's Marine Engineering Page -

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Wilde times with Mary

The UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has a couple of recent safety bulletins that may affect you, in your job as seagoing engineer.

The one that caught my eye recently, is a Harmonic Filter failure in the propulsion system of Cunard's Queen Mary 2. Harmonic Filters, a bank of capacitors, are generally part of any modern Diesel Electric propulsion system, used to stabilize and "clean" the network.

The internal wear was not pick up by sensors design to do just that, leading to internal rise in temp and pressure, which compromised the filter housing, leading to failure. The failure sprayed oil onto 11 kV bus bars, causing what I imagine was a spectacular light show. The whole mess luckily did not result in casualties, but did significant damage to the vessel's equipment.

Harmonic Filters, a bank of capacitors, are generally part of any modern Diesel Electric propulsion system and the MAIB is urging all mariners who have experienced this type of failure, to contact them.

Another safety bulletin, issued earlier in the year, addressed findings during an investigation into the ferry Oscar Wilde, which suffered and auxiliary space fire. The fire broke out in the fuel preparation unit, and firefighting efforts were infective as the installed high expansion firefighting foam system did not function as designed, despite proper maintenance. The problem was the distribution nozzles were blocked by debris. The MAIB is suggesting several initiatives to the engineer and operator responsible for the safe operation of this system.

You can download the "Queen Mary" Safety Bulletin here, and the "Oscar Wilde" Safety Bulletin here. The MAIB is asking for feedback, in confidence, if you have encountered problems with one or both these systems. You are asked to send them an email at and using the title ‘Foam Systems’ or ‘Capacitor failures’.

Pictures from the MAIB; showing the damaged fuel prep unit from the Oscar Wilde, and a damaged fire door from the Queen Mary.