Clean HVAC Systems Prevent Virus Outbreaks on Cruise Ships

Outbreaks of viral infections on cruise ships have been appearing frequently in the headlines this year.

In the first week of February 2012, approximately 500 cases of norovirus reportedly occurred on two Princess Cruise ships, according to CNN. Both ships are based in Florida. On the Ruby Princess had 92 passengers and 13 members became ill with the virus. The Crown Princess ship reported that 364 passengers and 30 crew members came down with the virus.

In the same week as the Florida cases, about 200 passengers on a ship departing from New Orleans became ill with norovirus, according to the Associated Press. The Royal Caribbean ship Voyager of the Seas was forced to depart late due to the illnesses. In May the cruise ship Boudicca reported 170 norovirus illnesses, causing the passengers to be quarantined. The ship, owned by Fred Olsen, experienced similar outbreaks in 2010. A spokeswoman for the company confirmed the passengers had a virus that caused gastroenteritis symptoms, according to the UK’s Mail Online.

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Soot Blowers Used in Shipboard Boiler Cleaning

Boiler cleaning and maintenance are always foremost in a boiler operator’s mind.  This means being fully versed in the general condition of the boiler and the way the boiler is being operated and maintained. Some of the items to consider are: have the exterior and interior surfaces of the boiler been cleaned by using boiler tube cleaners and descaler systems?  Do the refractory linings adequately protect the casing, drums, and headers?  Is the integrity of the pressure parts being maintained?

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Shipboard Maintenance: Pressure Washing the Ship’s Main Engine & Auxiliaries

Can you see the casualty before it happens? I was once asked to survey the operational condition and readiness of a ship’s engineering and propulsion plant prior to purchase. Well, what I found was totally unacceptable! The equipment was so dirty and grimy one could barely make out the color of paint on the main engines and their associated components. I immediately requested that the equipment be pressure washed prior to my inspection.

I then looked at the operations logs and found what looked like an excessive amount of lube oil consumption — my suspicions were right on. After pressure washing the equipment and then operating it – I observed lube oil leaks everywhere. You just couldn’t appreciate them initially due to the accumulation of oil and grime.

What sights and sounds might you encounter when inspecting a ship’s engine room? Check out the video below taken on a 300m, 5000 TEU container ship.

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Ship Maintenance: Descaling is Critical for Effective Heat Transfer

Water scale on any heat transfer surface reduces the effectiveness of that heat transfer. In turn, this results in reduced equipment efficiency while increasing energy consumption, increasing costs and even increasing plant operational downtime. Often this “buildup” problem is either ignored or relegated to “fixing it at the last minute or upon mechanical failure” status because of downtime costs. This is historically based on the premise that descaling takes a great deal of time.

As a marine engineer, this brings focus to one very important concern – every cruise and merchant ship must be self-sustaining as far as the production of fresh water is concerned.

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Cruise Ship Or Cursed Ship – Shipboard Maintenance

Having sailed the world more than a few times during my 30-plus year career with the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines as well as having served as Chief Engineer, I’ve observed plenty of cruise ships coming and going. The first thing that always crossed my mind was the imaginary experience of being the Chief Engineer onboard one of those floating cities and hearing, “Chief Engineer, you’re wanted on the bright” over the public address system.

(Below is a video of a cursed cruise ship being towed into port. )

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