Friday, April 2, 2010

hey, it ain't just me!

So, while I was home last time, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a beer with a good friend and his dad. This particular father is a professional mariner himself, and, point of fact, a higher-up in a ship-repair company.
He hadn't read my article on the forum on bunkering access and ship design.

In a twist of irony, for unrelated reasons we started discussing one of the ships that inspired me to write that article.
This ship had her bunkering point above the bow flare of the ship, where it was right awkward to secure another vessel.

(Correction: The former photo here depicted another class of vessel)

You hate me. Why do you hate me?

As it happened, this same ship, when she was going in for one of her first drydockings, presented a similar conundrum for the shipyard. Pumping off bunkers when the pumping station is 800 feet away from the damn pump connection requires some innovation, and, I'd imagine, a whole lot of hose.
The funny thing is that our conversation started out in a discussion on the fate of the Quincy, MA-Built ships. All of us there, me, my friend, and his dad, all grew up in the shadow of the Quincy shipyard.
Funny how small the maritime community is. Admittedly, it was nice to talk shop while I was at home, too.

In the case of the above ship, neither of us could come up with a reason for putting the bunker connection where they did. The ship itself is purposebuilt, and rather remarkable in capability- from the Federation of American Scientists webpage:

The MPS are organized into three squadrons, each commanded by a Navy captain. MPS Squadron One, usually located in the Atlantic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea, has four ships; MPS Squadron Two, usually located at Diego Garcia, has five ships; and MPS Squadron Three, normally in the Guam/Saipan area, has four ships.

Each MPS squadron carries sufficient equipment and supplies to sustain 17,000 Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force personnel for up to 30 days.

I'm going to assume that the US Navy had a reason for putting the bunker station where they did. But it's still an assumption. It's still very possible that the location of the bunkering station was added as an afterthought, as seems to be the general practice in shipbuilding.


Unknown said...

You have the wrong picture posted. That is a picture of a Maersk Black hull. The ship you are talking about is A Bobo class Amsea ship.

Paul, Dammit! said...

You're right! Thanks! Will correct it now!

Deep Water Sailor said...

Talk about bad bunker port designs, I just signed on a 70,000 DWT Japanese built Ro-Ro with spacious cargo holds. It seems that when they had her almost finished someone noticed that there wasn't a place to take on fuel oil so they inserted two ridiculously small bunker ports where the pilot hatches were and called it good.

Good for them but a safety nightmare for us! On one side the bunker port is large enough to fit three men side by side but not if you're going to rig the pilot ladder which hangs from a recess in the overhead.

The other bunker station/pilot port must be navigated with your back towards the sea inching along the deck grating while grabbing on to manifold valves if the hatch is open.

One man squeezes into the far corner to guide the pilot ladder as the other man in the water tight door operates the hand winch to lower. Meanwhile the seas are rushing by at 7 knots on a dead slow bell ten feet beneath the port.

It's terrifying as Chief Mate to send two sailors down there in the dark of night to shimmy along the hatch coming to rig for the pilot ladder not to mention what a bitch it is for the Second Assistant to rig up an 8 inch fuel hose.

Safety harnesses and work vests are non negotiable. I'd love to meet the N.A. who came up with such a shit design on an otherwise remarkably well put together and seaworthy vessel.

bigsoxfan said...

I'm quessing; designed for underway replenishment to the Navy standard.
Be so glad, you didn't go for the MSC as a way up. I have a buddy in the shit/pipe line and he's crying. Just to start, the training is at NWS Earle NJ.