Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Repairs at sea

We are now starting our second and final sea day before we reach Mumbai. I reported last time that we had experienced "technical difficulties" (P&O speak for a major breakdown), which had resulted in a 2 hour delay in docking at Dubai, which decreased our planned time there with Margaret's cousin somewhat, but we still had a great day out. The problem started at Oman, and meant that we had to run on one main engine only from Oman to Dubai, and as it still hadn't been resolved at Dubai, also reduced speed on our passage to India, which will result in a 2 hour delay in docking there tomorrow. I can now report that the fault has been rectified, and we are now able to travel once again at maximum speed.
There has been no announcement as to exactly what the problem was, but, last night at the Captain's party, I collared him and asked him directly. Whether his answer is the whole truth I can't say, but he did tell me that there had been a catastrophic failure to one of the big end bearings (crankshaft bearing), in the port side (Man B & W) main engine. I can also tell you that the power line set up on Oriana is as follows. There are two large main engines, driving two prop shafts. Each main engine is supplemented by its own smaller secondary unit. This set up is known as "father and son". There are also electric power in / out take offs on each prop shaft which can either be fed by spare electricity from the 4 main generators that are banked on the bulkhead forward of the engines, or feed back spare generated electricity to the ship's supply when full speed is not required. Each of the father and son engines can also be configured to work together for full power, or independently as required. During the breakdown, the starboard engine was operating at maximum thrust, using all available options, while the port engine was using only the supporting "son" engine and the shaft motor, supplied by the generators. This gave a maximum speed of 19 knots, as opposed to the normal 24 knots, which I suppose isn't too bad in the circumstances. One of the drawbacks of this configuration was very high vibration levels, resulting in many complaints from passengers. Unfortunately in this world s**t happens, so there was nothing that could be done. The moaners should be grateful that everything was done to ensure things remained as normal as possible, and I commend the engineering staff who worked around the clock for 3 days to strip the engine and make the necessary repairs. We are now back to normal.
Our day in Dubai was tremendous, with the six of us travelling in Ron's 4X4 sight seeing, and visiting places of interest. We had lunch at the exclusive Madinat Juraimah, part of the Burj Al Arab and Palms complex. For those in Australia with an interest, we also visited the Panerai watch boutique in Dubai Mall, but, unfortunately, the 386 limited edition was out of stock and with a very long waiting list. The attached images are of the Port Rashid tug assisting us into Dubai, and a view from the stern terrace of Oriana as we passed the port entrance. More next time......

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