Work on Board Multipurpose Ship

I have been in charge of machinery on Pielstick-equipped ships for the last eleven years, most of time on banana boats.

When some people compare the medium-speed engines to slow-speed ones, they think there is so much more work to be done on the medium speeds. In a way they are right, but I think the main difference is the kind of work that is required.

With the medium-speed engine you have to have much closer contact with the manufacturer in the beginning.

You have to know the characteristics of your specific engine so you know what to look for, and what to do.

You also have to keep a closer eye on temperatures, and generally be very exacting and professional all the time.

The greatest difference might be which part of your body you have to actuate. With the slow-speed engines you can use a lot of muscles, but with medium-speeds I think you are better off with a good brain.

Having responsibility for the economy, I feel very confident with the engine. Everything goes very smoothly and we haven't had any serious problems so far. We did have one incident with the liners in the beginning. The manufacturer had installed the wrong ones, but changed them free of charge. So it was really no problem for us.

I remember the engines on the banana boat I was with before the multipurpose ship. They were similar to this engine. When I left after ten years the original liners were still in. We made inspections every 18,000 hours, but never found much wear.

Here on this ship too my budget for maintenance spare parts and lubrication oil is well under control. We removed all the injection valves after 7,000 hours and had them checked. Three of them had to be replaced, but the rest were put back in. Up till now we have also changed eleven exhaust valves. That's all after 12,000 hours of operation at about 93% load.

Coming back to the difference between different types of engines, it might be true that you need a more devoted crew to get good performance out of a medium-speed engine. But don't think that is the problem!

With the medium-speed engine you can offer much better working conditions, so most of the time you get the people you want. That's my experience, anyway.