Marine engineer - Ask me anything

Capt_BJ

So Many Times
Joined
May 17, 2005
I have since looked into how a ship ballasts itself in rough seas as the knowledge I had was from me chatting and asking deckies a question or two.

Now there's an expert if I ever saw one . . .

IME <and MAYBE it is different in some parts of the cruise/cargo fleet> liquid load and its impact on stability was a function of the Chief Engineer and HIS staff ... NOT the deck department.

I got a daily report from the chief engineer on liquid load and stability ... and it was HE who I asked if there was an issue ...... :rolleyes1
 

Capt_BJ

So Many Times
Joined
May 17, 2005
Although I would hope that the Captain of the ship would treat his people with a bit more grace and consideration.

Well, I once got a call from my organizations 'evaluations' department. They complemented and thanked me for being among the few who would call out a DUD. Seems MOST wanted to soft soap it while an evaluation that said "remove this officer from the service as soon as possible" from an officer with a GOOD record eased their job. Too many times we're afraid to be seen as a bad guy even tho the worker is unqualified / incompetent. You get to be Captain / master / boss by making HARD decisions ..... I'm remis to say "you're fired" cuz of bad history attached to those words, but sometimes it IS the right thing to say . . .
 
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truck1

Growing older but not up.
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
I would be curious to see how the waste plumbing works on the ships. Sounds like there is pressurized air running through the system to help make things flow since you cant rely on gravity.
I think they use a vacuum system as opposed to pressurized system. Same effect only cleaner if there's a leak.
 

Snowwhyt

I've felt the Magic each time I visit!
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Most, however, prefer using their home port for fuel. They know that they will be receiving the correct grade of fuel in their home port, ive heard stories of unscrupulous fuel vendors putting water in with their fuel.
I wonder if they are really adding water to their fuel? My husband once was told after he had an experience with water in the tank (didn’t even make it 25 feet out of the gas station) caused almost $5000 worth of damage. But apparently tanks can get leaks in them after a rain when they are in the ground through. And the only solution to stop the water from coming in to the tank is digging the tank out and putting in a new one. Yeah that might be a little on the expensive side. So for that reason I can see how a fuel company would not exactly fess up to knowing they have water in there tanks.
So I’m gonna call on my overly altruistic Pollyanna look at things and say nobody’s putting water in the gas, but nobody’s fessing up to the water is getting into the fuel. I would assume a fuel company could get sued if they knowingly sold water instead of fuel. The fuel tank on my husbands car I think was like $300 to $500, that’s so many more parts of my husbands car were ruined when the water had gone through the system.
 

truck1

Growing older but not up.
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
I wonder if they are really adding water to their fuel? My husband once was told after he had an experience with water in the tank (didn’t even make it 25 feet out of the gas station) caused almost $5000 worth of damage. But apparently tanks can get leaks in them after a rain when they are in the ground through. And the only solution to stop the water from coming in to the tank is digging the tank out and putting in a new one. Yeah that might be a little on the expensive side. So for that reason I can see how a fuel company would not exactly fess up to knowing they have water in there tanks.
So I’m gonna call on my overly altruistic Pollyanna look at things and say nobody’s putting water in the gas, but nobody’s fessing up to the water is getting into the fuel. I would assume a fuel company could get sued if they knowingly sold water instead of fuel. The fuel tank on my husbands car I think was like $300 to $500, that’s so many more parts of my husbands car were ruined when the water had gone through the system.
Marine fuel oil is a little different. Each line specifies the type of fuel it wants and the bunker oil company is responsible to get it right. Sometimes its for environmental reasons and sometimes its due to the type of engine itself.
The majority of marine fuel comes from above ground tanks, so there is no leakage from the ground. Water can be introduced in any number of ways. Bunker barges can leak and take on water that gets mixed, sometimes its done deliberately in some parts of the world..... take your pick. Theres usually a test to verify the fuel but sometimes test results aren't available by sailing. Happened before to a cruiseline in Singapore in early 2000s. Ship took on bunker, test results were late and would take 2 or 3 days, ship left, had issues, came back not even a day later,off loaded the bad oil, took on supposedly fresh from a different barge, which was also contaminated. 2 days later, the fuel system on the ship was cleaned and repaired and the ship was ready to go. Basically the entire fuel system was opened up and cleaned. Apparently the bunker company was not pulling samples from the correct locations.
 

Snowwhyt

I've felt the Magic each time I visit!
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Marine fuel oil is a little different. Each line specifies the type of fuel it wants and the bunker oil company is responsible to get it right. Sometimes its for environmental reasons and sometimes its due to the type of engine itself.
The majority of marine fuel comes from above ground tanks, so there is no leakage from the ground. Water can be introduced in any number of ways. Bunker barges can leak and take on water that gets mixed, sometimes its done deliberately in some parts of the world..... take your pick. Theres usually a test to verify the fuel but sometimes test results aren't available by sailing. Happened before to a cruiseline in Singapore in early 2000s. Ship took on bunker, test results were late and would take 2 or 3 days, ship left, had issues, came back not even a day later,off loaded the bad oil, took on supposedly fresh from a different barge, which was also contaminated. 2 days later, the fuel system on the ship was cleaned and repaired and the ship was ready to go. Basically the entire fuel system was opened up and cleaned. Apparently the bunker company was not pulling samples from the correct locations.
I could binge watch you on Nat Geo talking about ships for days. When you explain things that never goes over my head. You have a serious gift.
 

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  • TiggerBouncy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2013
    Marine fuel oil is a little different. Each line specifies the type of fuel it wants and the bunker oil company is responsible to get it right. Sometimes its for environmental reasons and sometimes its due to the type of engine itself.
    The majority of marine fuel comes from above ground tanks, so there is no leakage from the ground. Water can be introduced in any number of ways. Bunker barges can leak and take on water that gets mixed, sometimes its done deliberately in some parts of the world..... take your pick. Theres usually a test to verify the fuel but sometimes test results aren't available by sailing. Happened before to a cruiseline in Singapore in early 2000s. Ship took on bunker, test results were late and would take 2 or 3 days, ship left, had issues, came back not even a day later,off loaded the bad oil, took on supposedly fresh from a different barge, which was also contaminated. 2 days later, the fuel system on the ship was cleaned and repaired and the ship was ready to go. Basically the entire fuel system was opened up and cleaned. Apparently the bunker company was not pulling samples from the correct locations.
    Maybe you know the answer to this, or maybe you do not. I'm just tossing it out there in case you do. :-) As I understand it, most cruise ships burn HFO. This is/was convenient since it's the same fuel used by most transport ships.

    The wish will be the first DCL ship to use LNG, but as I understand it, one of the biggest problems cruise lines are facing with LNG (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that transport ships still largely use HFO with fewer plans to change so ports have easier access to HFO fuel then LNG.

    Besides being different tanks, are there other logistical issues faced with being able to obtain LNG? Like it is more difficult to store, or more vulnerable to environmental issues (like water seepage, temperature, etc)?
     

    truck1

    Growing older but not up.
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2009
    Yes most cruise ships,cargo ships etc still burn some sort of mfo. Marine Fuel Oil. So thats plentiful around the world. Its been around since the 1900s. Lng is still relatively new technology. You could compare it to the electric vehicle industry. There's a gas station on just about every corner but electric charging stations aren't as easily found. For now. That should change in the near future. Same thing with lng. It will catch up over time as it's still relatively new technology compared to mfo. Back at the turn of the 1900s the US Navy started to change from coal to mfo. At 1 point they had 2 or 3 ships that were non coal and had to send some battleships and their escorts over seas. I forget why off hand. Long story short, the USS Arizona, which was one of the first non coal ships, got to stay behind while the rest of the fleet went over seas because mfo wasn't readily available. Flash forward 20 years or so and everyone is using mfo with coal about done. Today everything is mfo or turbine combo. If its not nuclear.

    Lng is different from mfo in that in its natural state, lng is a gas. To store it, its chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit to become a liquid. Reason is that lng expands 600 times from liquid to gas so you can store more as a liquid. It has to be filtered cleaned and dehumidified 3 ways to sunday for safety before being chilled. Any impurity could be bad. Its also stored under about 5 psi, so if there was a leak, nothing would come in, only out. Theres a specific process that goes into transfer. For example beside grounding or bonding everything to guard against sparks, pipes and hoses have to be purged and chilled before pumping starts.

    As far as the actual storage, the tanks are typically a sphere but can be any shape,since its low pressure and their insulated heavily to keep them cold. Since lng is colorless and odorless I would expect some type of mercaptin added also to help detect a leak, as well as sensors at specific locations also, which is something that mfo doesn't need. They can get by with level alarms and retaining walls.

    As far as delivery, not much changes. The barges look similar, but the main difference is procedure. Like I said, everything gets bonded and grounded, purged and checked where mfo, hook up, push a button or 3 and look up.
     

    TiggerBouncy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2013
    Yes most cruise ships,cargo ships etc still burn some sort of mfo. Marine Fuel Oil. So thats plentiful around the world. Its been around since the 1900s. Lng is still relatively new technology. You could compare it to the electric vehicle industry. There's a gas station on just about every corner but electric charging stations aren't as easily found. For now. That should change in the near future. Same thing with lng. It will catch up over time as it's still relatively new technology compared to mfo. Back at the turn of the 1900s the US Navy started to change from coal to mfo. At 1 point they had 2 or 3 ships that were non coal and had to send some battleships and their escorts over seas. I forget why off hand. Long story short, the USS Arizona, which was one of the first non coal ships, got to stay behind while the rest of the fleet went over seas because mfo wasn't readily available. Flash forward 20 years or so and everyone is using mfo with coal about done. Today everything is mfo or turbine combo. If its not nuclear.

    Lng is different from mfo in that in its natural state, lng is a gas. To store it, its chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit to become a liquid. Reason is that lng expands 600 times from liquid to gas so you can store more as a liquid. It has to be filtered cleaned and dehumidified 3 ways to sunday for safety before being chilled. Any impurity could be bad. Its also stored under about 5 psi, so if there was a leak, nothing would come in, only out. Theres a specific process that goes into transfer. For example beside grounding or bonding everything to guard against sparks, pipes and hoses have to be purged and chilled before pumping starts.

    As far as the actual storage, the tanks are typically a sphere but can be any shape,since its low pressure and their insulated heavily to keep them cold. Since lng is colorless and odorless I would expect some type of mercaptin added also to help detect a leak, as well as sensors at specific locations also, which is something that mfo doesn't need. They can get by with level alarms and retaining walls.

    As far as delivery, not much changes. The barges look similar, but the main difference is procedure. Like I said, everything gets bonded and grounded, purged and checked where mfo, hook up, push a button or 3 and look up.
    Thank you for the detailed information. It sounds like even though LNG is better to burn, it's a lot more complex to store and distribute and the shipyards may not be equipped to handle it limiting the options for the ships (for now). I have a much better appreciation now for why it's such a difficult transition!
     
  • truck1

    Growing older but not up.
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2009
    Thank you for the detailed information. It sounds like even though LNG is better to burn, it's a lot more complex to store and distribute and the shipyards may not be equipped to handle it limiting the options for the ships (for now). I have a much better appreciation now for why it's such a difficult transition!
    Your welcome. Its not necessarily more complex, just different. I could walk you thru a rail yard,, and show you a lng and a average gas tank car side by side and unless you knew what you were looking for, you wouldnt notice a difference. Up until now, there's been no real incentive to put lng facilities into every port. There may be 12 give or take last time I looked in the US that are ready or will be in the near future. Thats changing relatively quickly. Most ports, PC, POM, Long Beach, SD, are all looking at putting in some type of lng facilities. Its all money for them. They can store it, sell it to ships or send it inland. Its a win win for them. PC is in the later planning stages of bringing an existing lng line into the port so they don't have to rely on the barges from GA. One good storm will throw off everyone's schedule.
     





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