Mumbai, Monday, February 24th, 2003

In one of my ships, we have a control pitch propeller (CPP) system. Two 4-stroke main engines were coupled through a reduction gear to a common propeller shaft and each M/E could be run as a shaft alternator to generate electric power.

Once at Singapore Anchorage, the 4TH Engineer wanted to rectify a leak on the discharge side of the main air compressor, but before a non-return valve in the pipe. He tried tightening the adaptor, but the leak did not stop so he tried to remove the pipe from its place to inspect it, but the non-return valve would not hold and remained stuck in open position.

All 3 Air Bottle pressures (2 main bottles +1 control Air Bottle) fell to near zero within a minute on so. Before he could start the A/E the pressure had already reduced substantially.

The Emergency Air Compressor was run up to fill the bottle, but was not pressing the main bottle even after an hour of running.

The Emgy Generator did not come on because the battery was weak. We tried starting with hyd. starter, but it wasn't developing pressure either. Then we overhauled the non-return ball valve and tried again. Pressure was built up, then the Emgy Gen started, after that we started one main comp from Emgy switchboard and pressed up the main bottles, started the A/E and made everything normal.

That day I realized- from a real experience, how important the Aux starting mechanisms are to the emergency operations of the ship's machinery.
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