2023 Summer Training Cruise

More than halfway to the Azores.

Posted on: May 29, 2023

Time: 10:07

Latitude: N 39° 36.234′

Longitude: W 040° 48.000′

We are now more than halfway to the Azores! We have 2.9 miles of water beneath us! The sea state has stayed consistent, leaving the ship in a constant rolling motion. The texture of the ocean surface is so incredible and infuriatingly impossible to capture with a camera. The waves peak and create white caps but then sink back into a trough, just leaving foam. I can and do sit and watch the sea for hours. Everybody is really excited for the Azores. Unlike the regular work week, there are no weekends onboard. This schedule sounds ok, but people are getting restless. As I write this, somebody yells, “72 hours!” which I put together as the time till the Azores. Tonight we are having a cookout if the weather holds up, which should lift spirits.

Yesterday, my company had a Training day. This usually involves PowerPoints on shipboard activities and then some practical applications followed by an assessment. Some students love the opportunity to sit and relax, others find training days extremely tedious. Training days are split between deck and engine departments for the juniors, but the freshman have both; engine in the morning and deck in the afternoon. Yesterday morning we sat through engineering presentations on bearing lubrication, strainers and how to switchover duplex strainers, and an engine room tutorial on the blowdown procedure of the ship’s generators. The small groups rotated between each topic. After the lubrication presentation, we attached grease guns to zirc fittings. After the strainer PowerPoint, students handled a retired duplex strainer taking it apart and observing the inner workings, which was really fun. The most exciting one was learning the SSDG ( Ship Service Deisel Generator) blowdown/startup procedure. Students were briefed on the process in the machine shop and then headed down to generator three. The process starts with starting the Pre-lube pumps on manual to circulate oil throughout the engine before we turn it over. Then we checked the oil levels on the engine block and the generator itself. The diesel engine is started by running compressed air into the cylinders mimicking the rapid expansion caused by a combustion cycle. But we do not want combustion just yet. When a diesel engine is stopped by cutting the fuel, some of its six cylinders will have an exhaust valve open. This leaves the cylinder exposed to the atmosphere and moisture (water), which does NOT like to be compressed. So by opening a bypass valve at the top of the cylinder and securing the fuel rack, we can “blow out” any remaining moisture left in the cylinders without starting the engine. It is important to secure the fuel rack or there will be enough compression to shoot flames out of the top of the engine (not good). Students individually did the process themselves, which was very cool. I am a deck student, but I can get talking about this stuff very easily.

In the afternoon, for deck training, we were on the fantail doing line handling with both the hawsers and the Amsteel blue lines. This is done with both the juniors and freshmen, so there were lots of conversations about proper procedures and past line-handling experience. We had a classroom rotation discussing the MANY safety aspects of line handling. We do not put a significant

amount of tension on the lines on the fantail, but we treat the lines like they are under a working load. The Amsteel blue lines are very strong, very slippery, and very light. The hawsers are soft and very heavy. We used the deck winches and bitts to practice making fast the lines under tension. We also transferred the Amsteel blue lines from the storage side of the winch to the working side. If these skinny slippery lines are put under tension in a large roll, they will “bury” themselves into the wraps beneath them, causing all sorts of problems. I will be watching the juniors complete the mooring process in the Azores now that I have a better idea of the procedure.

If you have any questions about the cruise experience that you would like possibly answered in a blog post, please send me a brief email with your question to Odegaard.fields@tssom.mma.edu. You will probably not receive a response but keep returning to the blog for an answer!

-Stay Tuned

4C Odegaard Fields