I want to talk about the day I had. This place is as good as any to talk about it. It’s not like anyone cares or wants to hear about my day and even if they do its not like anyone would respond or register. So here I am anyway. My blog, my space. So we were in Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia and we received a spare cylinder liner as a part of stores. A liner is where a piston travels and combustion takes place. Now ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem but this thing was 16 feet tall and weighed 9 tons.
There’s a liner lifting tool that is provided by the manufacturer which makes the job a little easier but there is still a lot of tact needed to make a 16 foot liner placed horizontally then vertical. To make it more interesting, the chief insisted that we pick it up with yhe wooden box it came in. So that basically rules out the use of the liner lifting tool.
The truck guy had slings which were to be used. They would run under the box and connect to our ship’s crane and then we would hoist it. The slings being thick and heavy, took a lot of time and effort to get hooked on to the crane. But once they were on, we were ready for business.
Just last week we had received an email that another ship was engaged in a similar operation and tried to lower a piston crown weighing 1 ton down into the engine room without the proper lifting gear. As a result the box snapped and the crown fell 14 meters and smashed everything in its path.
This was 9 times heavier and would be hoisted twice as high. So that should paint a picture.
Anyway, we started lifting and immediately there was a problem. The second engineer had insisted that we put one of the slings right at the edge of the box to support the weight of the liner. Being top heavy it made sense. Only problem was I thought it was take too much load and sheer off the face of the box and drop the liner. But that’s where the truck guy insisted we place the sling and we carried on.
The second engineer handed over the walkie talkie to me to handle communication with the crane operator.
We started lifting and I was in charge. The second and the rest of the gang backed off and held the liner straight with an additional rope so that it doesn’t swing and tangle the crane wires while being hoisted.
The entire unit was leaning slightly toward the front and it wasn’t even. There was a possibility of the weight increasing on one side and the liner slipping out and falling down. But we kept going.
Soon we were at the point where we had to turn the liner so that we could slide it inside the gap between the containers and the accommodation. That required transferring one of the ropes to a guy onboard and using the other rope to turn it from the jetty. That was the plan only it didn’t go so well. The liner bumped into the container as it was turning. At this point I was furious and yelling into the walkie talkie. Yelling at the jetty crew to pull harder to twist it and yelling at the crane operator to stop moving inboard when the liner wasn’t clear. A few nervous minutes later, the liner cleared and was taken onboard safely.
The whole thing must’ve lasted a total of 3 minutes but they were the most nerve racking minutes I may have ever lived or experienced. That or maybe the time I almost died. Well this may be a close second I think. But what a day. I felt alive. After a long long time.