While taking rounds in the engine room, we should not simply pass by the machines but stay there for some time. At times, we may find an area oily say, the generator. I wipe it and in the next round if I see a black line emerging, then it indicates a leakage and we must rectify it now, else it may become unmanageable. We should monitor the performance of a machine or a system and find out any flaws in it. For instance, if the feed pump runs and shuts in 20 minutes normally but today it is running for a long time it indicates that either the pump is running dry. Either it has been vapour locked or some leak might have developed somewhere. To judge the normal behaviour, I need to stay near the machine for a long period of time.
A pump has been running smoothly but it has been making noise as there is definitely something wrong. I put my hand on the electric motor but if it allows me to do that, it is okay but if I need to pull back my hand immediately, it is indicating that something is wrong, it is overheated and I must take corrective action. On one occasion, the watchman called me and said that some noise is coming from a particular cylinder head of the main engine. When I inserted my hand I had to withdraw it as I could hear the noise pertaining to steam formation inside. This unit was overhauled in the port from which we were departing and the cooling water inlet valve wheel moved but valve did not open. So, when you touch the machine you realize about its faults.
Machines also have culinary preferences. The incinerator does not want simply the sludge. We also don’t want curd, we want “ lassi” ( churned, sugar and essence added) , in the similar manner the incinerator also likes “ lassi” and that is why we have a churner fitted on ( homogenizer) and the sludge thus treated is liked by it.
Many times, I explain to my students the reason behind the installation of Zinc anodes. They get very amused by this and the sleepy ones get up. To some others, I quip don’t you all fancy white girls? Yes friends, we go to ship to work but in other words we go to take care of it.