Category: Work projects

Shipyard work in Spain!

Hey everyone. Sorry its been so long since I last put a blog up. It’s been a very busy time of repair on the ship. There have been many projects going on. It’s been good to get some serious work done. We have also had the chance, since we are in Spain, to do some relaxing here in the Canary Islands in the evenings and days off. We are just finishing up the dry dock segment of our ship yard phase. The ship is a mess, with so many projects going on. But once its all cleaned up it will be better than ever. The ship is back in the water as of tonight and it is still floating despite having a huge hole cut in the side of it. If all our tests go well tomorrow morning, we will sail back to Tenerife to finish up the next few weeks of work in the port there.

This will be more of a picture blog than a deep insightful one. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Just click on the first picture then you will be able to scroll through all the photos. If you have any questions, besides “did you meet anyone special there?”, just leave a question for me.  God Bless

Tim Abramoff



Diving in poo water

The water in the port is very dirty and polluted. The everyone dumps raw sewage and piles of garbage into the water. There are used condoms and all types of other stuff I don’t even want to think about floating in the water and on the surface. I saw a bloated dead sheep float by twenty minutes after our dive was finished. It’s quite sick! Our objective is to check the intakes and keep them clean. The intakes usually get plastic bags and flip flops stuck to them. These intakes are crucial for proper operation of the the ship. The water that gets sucked in is used to cool the air conditioners and also to cool the generators. Our first dive was to get used to the underside of the ship as well as locate all the ropes and D-rings for navigation. This dive was my first with a full face Aga mask with underwater communications. We use full face-masks to keep as much of the crap (literally) off our faces and out of our bodies. We were diving 130 cu ft steel tanks that are very heavy! We either get lowered to the water via the safety boat on deck seven or we jump off the pier, depending on how far the we have to jump due to the tides! the first day I dove, we entered the water and were almost swept away from the ship by the current. The current was very strong I could barley swim into it! We managed to swim to the first rope (about 20 feet) and once we caught our breath we descended on the rope to the first set of intakes. The water was pretty cloudy. I could only see about three or four feet. We all had our dive lights turned on so that helped. I could see the lights out to about ten feet. We checked the intakes and got familiarized with the underside of the ship. After checking and cleaning the intakes we came out and debriefed. Our first task after cleaning the gear was to wash the contaminated water off of us! It was good to be back in dive gear although not the same gear I am used to using as a commercial diver. But non-the less good to breathe some compressed air! we Have been doing about 2 dives a week. plus a few special dives. Dan, the head diver and I went in and cleaned the bow thruster blades before the sail. The 8 blades were covered with about 3 inches of marine growth (barnacles). We also cleaned the props before the sail. They were also covered in growth.

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Please comment if you have any questions or comments! thanks



Me cutting a hole in the ship…!

Here is one of the work projects I have been working on.  We were replacing one if the two the medical air compressors that are located on deck 8 inside the big blue funnel where all the exhaust pipes are located. The compressor we are replacing is getting old and is having trouble keeping up so a new one was ordered. To be able to replace the old compressor we needed to cut a hole in the side of the funnel approximately six by four feet to be able to slide the old compressor out and install the new one. Any welding or cutting that is done onboard the ship needs to have a Hot Work Permit. The duty officer issues the permit. I have to get a permit almost every day I work. This permit makes sure I have all the necessary safety equipment like fire blankets and fire extinguishers as well as personal for fire watch as needed. It also makes sure I check my work after to make sure there are no fires that can start after the work is done. It is also used for disabling the smoke detectors. Every room in the ship has at least one smoke detector.  And they need to be disabled or it will set the alarm off. Not a good thing to have a fire on a ship.

Speaking of smoke detectors… I have a funny story! I was in the welding shop on deck one. That is the only room on board that I don’t need a Hot Work Permit, so I try to weld there as much as possible. The welding shop still has smoke detectors but I can push a button on the wall and a light will come on to let me know I have disabled the smoke detector for fifty-five minutes. Needless to say I was cleaning the bench off using a sanding disk, which does not make sparks. I figured “no heat, no smoke, no problem”. I was wrong. About five minutes into sanding the bench the duty officer comes running into the welding shop with a handheld radio and panicked look on his face! I guess the dust had set the smoke detector off and it was his duty to investigate. He asked me if I had pushed the button and I told him “nope, I wasn’t making smoke”. He got on the radio and said that the alert was a false alarm. I now push the disable button if I plan on doing anything in the shop!

Back to my original story! Where was I? Oh yeah. So after getting my Hot Work Permit. I used a grinder to peel the paint off of where I was going to cut the plate. The paint was about 2mm thick. Everything in the marine world has multiple layers of paint on it. The theory being if there is paint on the steel it can’t rust and it is a proven theory. After all the paint was removed from the cut line, I cut about 90 percent of the hole so the plate would be ready to remove as soon as the compressor was ready to move out.

Once the new compressor showed up it was time to pull the old one out. This involved making the final cuts to complete hole as you can see in the photo. I used a zip disk on a seven-inch grinder for the straight cuts. And a cutting torch for the radius cuts. After I had the plate all cut, we placed a pallet in front of the hole to set the plate on. I had planned for Bowie and myself to lower the plate down onto the pallet. But the plate had different plans! The plate was still standing in place, held by four tabs I welded to prevent it from falling inward. I went inside and tried pushing it out gently but nothing happened. So I grabbed a hammer and took a swing at the plate to loosen the torch cuts. The next thing I know is the plate is falling outward! I’m thinking, “Oh crap, Bowie is going to get crushed!” As I see the plate falling toward the outside in what seems to be slow motion!  I see Bowie trying to get out of the way. He manages to just get out from the falling plates path. The plate crashes onto the pallet…Just like I planned… well maybe not. But it did work! From the expression on Bowies face I could tell it caught him off guard! We had a good laugh and stood back to admire the huge hole I just cut in the ship! We then started prepping the plate and walls for welding.

Then we had the electricians un-hook the compressor from the electrical grid on the ship. We then used a steel pipe and a large pry bar to roll the compressor out on to deck eight.

The compressor weighed about 2000 lbs. So Jeff and I used some Egyptian moving techniques to roll the unit on a steel pipe. The two of us were easily able to get it out and onto a pallet. Thanks Pharaoh!

Before we could install the new compressor we had to figure out where exactly it would fit since it was a larger unit and the room where it goes in fairly cramped. The pad was prepped and painted for the new compressor to be installed.

We then rolled and dragged the new one into it new home inside the stack. The stack is the central part of the ship where all the exhaust gases from the engine room come through the decks to the top deck into the fresh air. Once the compressor was in place, I welded it to the deck pad so it will not move around at all.

Now that the compressor was in place it was time to close the hole up. I spent the better part of two days welding the plate back into place. I was careful when cutting the plate out initially, as I knew I would have to fit it back into the exact spot and weld it in exactly as it was. I enjoyed doing the welding, as it was a fairly big job so it was nice to get to do some serious work. Bowie helped me fit the plate back into place.  For those that are interested I was welding with 3.2mm 7018 welding rods. I welded the inside up-hand. Then Bowie ground and prepped the outside grove for the proper weld. I welded both vertical welds in an up-hand fashion. The downside to welding in Africa is that it is hot out. I tried working just in the afternoons, as that was when I would be in the shade from the sun. But it was still over 32 degrees out! Sometimes there was a light breeze that would refresh me as soon as I lifted my helmet. I was sweating buckets under my helmet and leather gloves and welding jacket. My jacket was soaked right through both days!


Once the welding was all done, Bowie and I prepped and the steel for paint. Steel rusts with in only a matter of hours due to all the salt and humidity in the air. So putting a coat of two-part epoxy primer is key to stopping rust before it can start.  As it sits now it still needs to have a blue top coat put on it but for now the primer will suffice.