JC010: Mud volcanoes and submarine canyons


Cruise diary

Day 8: Saturday 19 May 2007
Position: Latitude 35º, Longitude 7º, bearing 60º
Weather: Cloudy with some rain

Gillian and Eduard write:

"Today we visited the engine room. Bernie, the chief engineer, gave us a guided tour. He explained that the ship is rather like a small town and has everything on it needed for the people. It has engines to move the ship, together with propellers and thrusters, water purifiers, stabilisers and a small sewage treatment plant. Most people imagine that an engine room is smelly and oily but it is really clean. However it is very noisy and we had to use ear defenders.

The whole operation is controlled by computers but if necessary it can be overridden manually. The ship has 4 engines about 4 m long. These engines are put together in a big room with plenty of tubes and connections. You have to walk carefully because you can trip near a lot of sharp edges. Bernie explained that the engines are really powerful. The power of each engine is 1800 kW - 7200kW combined! If the ship is required to do 16 knots, all 4 engines are required, but fuel combustion is very high.  Normally, the ship has only 2 or 3 engines on.

After the engines produce the energy, they transmit it to the propellers and the 2 thrusters at the back, 1 at the front and a special rotating thruster in the centre which allows the ship to remain in the stationary position when sampling. 

In the engine room there is also a small sewage treatment plant for all the toilet waste. The tanks have bacteria in them; as oxygen is bubbled through the bacteria digest the waste. The gas they produce (methane) is vented to the outside through a big pipe and the other product is pure water which is drinkable although I didn’t fancy trying it.

“Water, water every where and not a drop to drink!” Well not really. There are condensers on board - they distill the seawater by boiling it up into steam and condensing it to make pure water for using in washing machines, showers and for drinking and cooking. So the ship is self sufficient in water as well.

The stabilisers are big tanks of water underneath the ship which are filled with water. A system of valves and compressed air controls how much water is in them according to the conditions of the sea.

The whole ship is self sufficient!"

Eduard and Bernie in the engine room

Bernie at the controls

The engine room....

....and one of the engines!

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