17th December 2008

Pete, our chief engineer has made 6 voyages to the Ross Sea during the last 10 seasons.

He has also completed half a dozen trips to the remote Herd & Mcdonald islands 1,600 miles SW of Perth…. fishing in the Australian zone of the CCAMLR controlled Toothfish fishery. It would be fair to say that Pete, with his wealth of knowledge, is a huge asset on a voyage like this.

Some of the issues the chief has to consider before sailing in Antarctic conditions are:

  • All of our 450,000ltrs of fuel must be winter treated with a special additive so that it doesn’t turn to wax in the double bottom tanks.  Most of the time the hull temperature is below zero.
  • We must carry spare cylinder heads, liners, pistons, injectors, pumps and impellors for all engines, (the main and 3 auxiliary engines). Along with all gaskets and parts to complete a total rebuild if required.
  • For much of the time the sea water is too cold for direct use to cool the engines and modifications to the cooling system are needed so we can re-use the waste heat we generate.
  • Not many things run without an electrical circuit board these days and like most things they are all subject to failure at some stage, usually when you’re in a tight spot.
  • The ability to make enough fresh water is one of the most important requirements. We have two systems aboard the Antarctic Chieftain, reverse osmosis and desalination. Both systems have issues: The RO system requires clean salt water that is passed through very fine filters under high pressure to produce freshwater. At times the massive algal blooms and huge concentrations of krill block all the filters.
  •  The desalinator requires heat and evaporation, something we don’t have lots of down here but the chief has to make it all happen………every day.

Even the little jobs need thinking through…imagine changing a mast head light bulb with a wind chill factor of -20 and 10cm of ice all over the rigging.

At the end of the season, when the sun starts to set again, we get all sorts of challenges working on deck in the sever cold.

Pete greasing the main rocker

Pete greasing the main rocker

In the photo Pete is manually greasing one of the rockers on the main engine as the rocker bearing is badly worn. At some stage we’ll have to stop the main and replace that. In the other shot he’s adjusting the Ammonia refrigeration coil settings.

Pete in the fridge room

Pete in the fridge room

Rgds: John B.


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5 Responses to “17th December 2008”

  1. Jon Safey Says:

    All the best for christmas down there JB. Will be thinking of you and the crew.

    Good luck


  2. Jonathan Butler Says:

    Hi JB

    Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you, Sue and all the guys who now me. See you in NZ in Feb!

    All the very best and tight lines!

    Jonathan Butler

  3. scott hampton Says:

    Hi JB, how are tthose boys going that you got..? hope that all is well? happy new year

  4. olafsson Says:

    hello guys glad to see that you are doing well on former :gudni olafsson
    i liked the pictures on your blog see that she is still extreemly good looking
    have a good fishery reagards from vestmann isles .iceland
    oskar olafsso nethamar

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