Plumbing Problems and Troubleshooting On Board Ship
Old commercial ships of the 70s and 80s that were still existing until the year 2000 onwards have troubles primarily on plumbing.
As a sailor, I encountered problems using the faucet, the drain, the toilet inside my cabin and even helped repair the septic system of the vessel.
What a gross scene!!! Pardon to those who are eating as I spill it out here one by one on DIY Plumbing on HubPages.
You see, as the ship travels from continent to continent, the weather varies from hot to cold and the extreme of it.
To combat problems on plumbing, ship's master always remind officers and crew to use every equipment carefully and wisely.
So, in order for other readers to understand our rigors plus patience maintained on board ship, here's the usual scenario happening while we're on voyage or at port.
Old ship, plumbing problems
My second assignment on board ship was both exciting and problematic. The camaraderie and rapport among officers and crew were overwhelming. For the first time, I was drawn closely to the Greek culture because of my very kind master.
The only major problem on board the vessel was the problem in plumbing.
I was ushered by the Filipino steward (who later became my close friend) into my assigned cabin. I immediately used the toilet due to my timely need to pee. When I flushed it with water, it didn't went down instantly. My questioning eyes were countered by my friend regarding plumbing problems on board ship.
"Don't worry, you'll survive," he said meaningfully.
Fitters in action
There were two fitters on board the old ship, two Rumanians who are experts in repairing worn out piping system in the vessel and other metal works.
Their daily hot works (needs permit before executing works involving welding with the use of acetylene and welding rods) concentrated in:
- Engine Room - piping repairs for the boiler and maintenance for engine and other metal works
- Super Weather Deck - auxiliary pipe lines and other repairs
- Water Piping System - continuous watch and repair on some leaking pipes for the drinking water and ballast (water system that balances the floating ship)
- Septic System - case-to-case basis, especially in every cabin's CR (comfort room).
It's always hard work when you're on board ship. So, if I were you, you can always ask the age of the ship you'll be working on if you happen to be assigned to a particularly, very, very, very OLD ship.
Every sailor's nightmare
As for me, and for those who were on board that ship (scrapped already since 2003), we always encountered discomfort on the unclogged sinks and the toilet.
Due to the very irresponsible crew, I personally unclogged the sink which was full of hair and phlegm!!! (Gwark! I almost vomited!). Don't worry, I wore hand gloves that protected me from unwanted germs.
Aside from this, being assigned as the second cook of the ship, I assisted my Greek chief cook in every thing we did on board, including the maintenance of the galley.
We cannot overdo cleaning inside the galley because of plumbing problems. If we use too, much water, we always expected that the oily-water will not sink down because of clogged pipes. We had to mop the floor not cleaning it entirely with water.
As for the sink in the galley, we also encountered the same problem, changes in temperature (from hot to cold weather) will solidify the oily water, thereby clogging the pipe. I had to pour hot water to combat such problem.
But when the ship became a liner in Black Sea countries, like Ukraine, I had to endure such difficulties when washing dishes and kitchen utensils. Me and the steward, removed first the food leftovers, before washing batch of dishes after every meal. We also appealed to fellow crew to carefully stack their used plates and glasses while they're on night duties. That will help us for our next-day chores.
It helps if galley personnel will always order for a snake pipe unclogging equipment, like what we are recommending here. Aside from hot water, it can also help normalize the sinking of water in the sink piping as well as the problems I encountered in my CR's sink.
In winter's time, the ship's heating system helps unclog pipe system. Water discipline is usually imposed by the ship's master. Well, who else will brave taking a bath daily during winter? From what I've encountered, the heating system of the old ship gave us too much problems. Better sleep full of thick warm blanket than use the heating system full of dust!
In conclusion, plumbing problems on board ship will be lessened if responsible sailors will impose discipline in all works aboard, especially the proper way on how to avoid such discomfort.
Ship's garbage disposal system should be strictly imposed. Warnings about pipe clogging should also be reminded during toolbox meeting or during safety meetings every week.
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