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Lubricating a Legend


Visualize the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, with 1,245 rooms on 42 floors, lying on its side and floating up Park Avenue. Thats roughly the size of Carnival Cruise Lines new cruise ship, the Carnival Legend, docked on the Hudson River about half a mile away. Built in Helsinki and placed in service three years ago, it has 1,062 guest rooms.

On a blustery Friday afternoon in late October, the Legend is taking on 330,000 gallons of a highly viscous, heavy fuel oil which it will burn at an average rate of 150 metric tons a day. Fuel for its 2,000 passengers – in the form of small mountains of beverages, food and other amenities and supplies – is also being loaded as the Legend gets ready to float out into the Atlantic. No water is taken aboard, though; its supplied on board by two evaporators, each capable of producing 25 tons of water per hour, for a total of 1,200 tons a day.

Keeping this floating hotel/resort, with its three restaurants, two theaters, casino, swimming pools and basketball court, gliding serenely along is the bottom line for Captain Claudio Cupisti and every one of its 930 crew members.

That includes Chief Engineer Rosario Capilli, who holds sway below decks in the engine room of this 88,500-ton ship. Capilli (above right) is responsible for keeping the Legend moving through the Atlantics crashing, wintry waves, without upsetting a single, sensitive landlubbers stomach up above.

Unlike his counterpart at the Waldorf, though, Capilli cannot pick up the phone and call downtown for an emergency HV/AC specialist when a heat exchanger starts to fail, or dispatch an assistant uptown to pick up a critical part for a motor which fails at midnight. He has to be ready for any breakdown at any time and able to fix it with the material and crew on board – right away.

His ship also has such specialized equipment as engines and winches (198 horsepower each) for 12 lifeboats; six 500-hp tenders and two rescue boats (190 hp), plus mooring winches and a 146-hp engine to lift the 8-ton anchor. We fix, fabricate and maintain everything we need for every one of these engines and many other pieces of mechanical equipment on board, Capilli declares. For example, we just recently completed a full overhaul of one of our six diesel generators, pulled out the nine pistons, replaced rings and other parts as per the manufacturers maintenance schedule – which we follow – reassembled it and put it back on line. Our allotted time for this maintenance was eight days and we completed the job in six days.

We have a team of 61 maintenance personnel and engineers to fix and repair the ship – including electricians, plumbers, fitters, motormen – from a leaking bathroom, a bulb replacement in the main lounge to a breakdown in the laundry or in the galleys. And we have a dedicated computer with specific software to maintain a huge inventory to keep the ship running.

Its very challenging, he adds with what can only be characterized as understatement.

No Glitches Wanted

Carnival Cruise Lines goes to great lengths to ensure a glitch-free environment on its ships. Why? The stakes are very high. At the Waldorf, if the air conditioning goes out you notice it, but if its quickly fixed you forget about it. Inconveniences or breakdowns aboard ship are never a laughing matter, even if they last only a very brief period.

As Capilli puts it, If you spend a couple of thousand dollars you dont want to swelter or freeze in your room, or be tossed around when youre trying to do the newest dance craze, eating some excellent filet mignon or sipping a glass of spirits at one of our several lounges. (And, Carnival knows, an extended mechanical breakdown can be splashed on the front pages and travel sections of most of the worlds major newspapers.)

Providing lubricants to the cruise industry requires a scope and detail above and beyond what many other vessel types require, notes Mike Sarisky of ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants, the sole supplier of lubricants for the Legend and its three sister ships. We have to provide an extensive product line, worldwide supply capability and zero tolerance for second-best.

From his station in the Legends spotless engine room, Capilli oversees the ships lubrication, supported by engineers on shore who use specialized computer software to keep close track of the products used, the on-board inventory and lubrication schedule. Thirty-seven types of oils and greases are inventoried. In addition, oils samples are taken either monthly or more frequently from 20 oil sampling sites throughout the ship.

Teamwork to keep everything working right is very important, he says. Roughly 100 different nationalities work for Carnival Cruise Lines fleetwide, and we have people from Italy, Croatia, Indonesia, Philippines, Romania, Honduras, India, San Salvador, Peru and so many other countries here in the Legends engine room, for example.

We understand each other using mostly English, he says. We spend so much time together, often we can communicate just by looking.

Getting Propulsive

Six huge 9-cylinder diesel engines made by Wartsila of Finland power the Legend. Each has a 3,500-gallon oil sump and generates 13,600 horse-power. (By comparison, many cars hold about 5 quarts of oil, and a large railroad locomotives sump holds about 400 gallons.)

While most of the lubricants required for the ship are maintained in drums, for these engines the ship inventories 31,000 gallons of SAE 40 grade diesel engine oil in a dedicated storage tank. Weve not experienced any problems with lubricant quality, reports Capilli. Each month an oil sample from each engine is sent for laboratory analysis. Based on the results, a decision is then made to change the oil or add to it. Unless the sample produces an out-of-spec reading, a complete oil change will be done only after 12,000 running hours, that is, during dry-dock every two years.

Modern marine diesel engines used on cruise ships require a high-performance marine lubricant, Sarisky points out. Our branded Taro 50XL SAE 40 is manufactured with selected high quality base stocks and is formulated using the latest additive technologies to provide excellent piston cleanliness and sludge control. These are critical characteristics for modern engines with low oil consumption like those on the Legend, he says.

Normal oil consumption in this type of diesel powerplant is very small, maybe one cup per day, so theres very little topping off with fresh oil. The engine burns very little lubricating oil, notes Capilli. Under normal operating conditions 10 percent of the sump is drained and replaced every month, so in effect there is an oil change every 10 months, besides the full oil change during the biennial dry-dock. That comes to more than 11,000 gallons of lubricating oil for each of the six engines, and over 66,000 gallons shipwide in two years.

The Legends fuel costs have risen like everyone elses, and are now about double that of a year ago. While some marine engines burn used oil, these dont; its all virgin fuel oil.

Except in very unusual circumstances only one diesel engine can be offline at any time during a cruise and on occasion all six must be running to maintain precise docking schedules. In port, two engines are online at all times, primarily to keep four giant compressors running to cool the ship. Each compressor requires 132 gallons of lubricating oil.

Fins and Seals

Much of the Legends equipment is no different from land-based machinery – laundry, dry cleaning, refrigeration, air conditioning and heating and so forth – but there are several functions unique to a waterborne service: safety (including lifeboats, fire protection, fire doors), sealing, specialized hydraulics, bilge pumps, watertight doors. A well-equipped machine shop on board operates 24/7 and is equipped with a wide range of equipment, including milling, valve grinding, drill presses and lathes.

Lifeboats are powered by 198-hp engines, about the size of a Class 8 truck engine, made by Iveco of Switzerland. Youll also find on board:

Two powerful, state-of-the-art Azipod propeller systems. These are located port and starboard in the stern; each is fully sealed and permanently underwater, with a 65,740-pound, four-blade propeller with a 19-foot diameter. To hold out the sea-water, a sealing system with a gravity oil tank maintains higher pressure from the inside than seawater pressure on the seals. The Azipods do not require servicing between regular two-year dry-docking. Four separate lubricants ensure that these systems operate flawlessly over that time, with continuous monitoring of the oil level and pressure.

Three 2,500-hp thrusters, located in the bow of the ship. These are used to maneuver the ship toward the pier, to keep it steady during docking or to pull the ship off the pier. The three thruster propellers, each 10 feet across, allow the captain to move the ship in any direction, says Capilli. Each of these engines requires one cubic meter of oil – 264 gallons – in the sump.

Two fin stabilizers, made by the venerable Brown Bros. of Edinburgh, one on each side of the ship. Extending out 22 feet to counteract the force of the waves, the fins keep the ship level and restrict its side-to-side or back-and-forward movement to 0 to 0.5 degrees, depending on weather conditions. Thats enough to allow anyone to walk comfortably in a hallway. (Without them, in heavy water the ship could rock side to side as much as 4 or 5 stomach-churning degrees.) The stabilizers operate automatically, are computer controlled and sealed like the Azipods, using 430 gallons of oil. These mechanisms also receive maintenance only during dry-dock.

One 1,632-hp emergency generator, made by Cummins, on continuous standby in the event of a power failure. Capilli said that in his experience, emergency power is rarely needed. But as part of the ships rigorous and methodical maintenance schedule, the emergency generator is run for one hour every seven days – just to be sure.

Shore Lines

Back on shore, before the next run, theres more to do. We have precise procedures to dispose of used oil, as well as all garbage, Capilli says. At the end of each cruise, used oil is pumped off into waiting trucks. We keep sludge, used oil and bilge water separate.

Water used to clean floors, for example, is collected in bilge tanks, processed in an oil separator and discharged overboard but only beyond 12 nautical miles from land, he continues. And the discharged water must be less than 15 ppm of oil.

Except for treated water, discharge into the ocean of any garbage at all is strictly prohibited. Our policy is zero discharge, to discharge nothing, any kind of garbage, especially a petroleum product. He adds emphatically, An oil discharge would be a disaster.

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