As surveyors we rush around the world on short notice, arrive at some distant port and then are asked to look at a damage situation or some technical or operational problem. We crawl into tight and dirty spaces and end op taken pictures or measurements of broken components.
Often we rush back to catch the next plane. But every now and then you get a glimpse of something that makes you realize that technology is a wonderful thing. It is immensely creative and, if we are lucky, we technologists get to put our heart and souls into creating objects that in many ways are indistinguishable from the greatest art created by man and that can leave a lasting impression.
I was dealing with a crankshaft damage on a large diesel engine and when I stood up inside the lifted entablature I felt like I was inside a Cathedral of Internal Combustion. It was quite beautiful; it radiated power and passion by its creators and provided a nice space for a little contemplation.
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As a company maybe we love salvage more than anything else, but load outs must come in as a very close second.
Technology failures are inevitable. The trick is to keep failures to a minimum and to keep failures in the “mostly harmless” category. Certain types of equipment can fail and the failure does not result in consequences that are too serious, while other types of equipment failures can make a mess of things almost right away. Ship’s steering gear undoubtedly belongs in the latter category, and, therefore, steering gear normally gets special attention in its design and construction. In our office we have had a spate of steering gear failure investigations lately and very interestingly they all seem to have different causes.
This is just a short list of recent steering gear failures that we were involved in:
This cartoon was probably old when I first saw it in the eighties, but I would say the subject that it spoofs has not gotten much better.
Most of the above inspectors still show up, but today we can add Port State Control, P&I condition inspectors (especially hatch cover inspections), environmental auditors, ISM inspectors and the list goes on. M&O performs many of the above inspections and we truly symphatize with ship's personnel that has to manage all these port call duties during ever shorter port calls.
Recently M&O has been involved in research and development activities to reduce this inspection workload for the ship's crews. In October I will be presenting a paper on the subject at the SNAME annual meeting in Providence RI. read more »
For the second time in three years we were asked to attend to damages of the shielding on the Brooklyn Bridge. Shielding is a type of staging that is fitted to a bridge when construction work is taking place, and both cases related to contact by a crane boom with the shielding that was suspended beneath the bridge. Fortunately nobody was hurt in either case. read more »
December 15, 2011, in Rochester, New York to inspect a pier on behalf of the Department of Justice with regard to a fatal boater's crash on a dark night in 2008 on Lake Ontario.
It was surprisingly warm for this time of year, but the USCG Boatswain in charge of the 47 foot MLB and his crew performed a risk assessment and decided we should wear the mustang suits for the night time trip.