Tire In The Thruster
Slop Chest (That's "Store" to you)
E-mail Dave. He's knot working anyway.
Sea Stories
Schedule A Charter



 This should show you what kind of damage of which I'm capable when I put my mind to it. So, watch it!

    When I'm not Knot Working I'm a shipmaster. That's a Captain to the unannointed. Master is the position and License, Captain is the title.
    Recently, I was master of a DP-Class 2 marine construction vessel. DP is Dynamic Positioning. With dynamic positioning one maintains position with computer-aided thrusters as opposed to anchors. All very high tech. (Which is scary to many of the people with whom I attended high school.) We Install pipelines, floating production platforms, etc. DP allows us to work in deep water, greater than 1000' depth. The only problem I have with DP is that I don't get to say stuff like "Hard right!" or "Half astern".
    Back to the pictures. We were working along side a SPAR platform and were just about to hang off one of the last pipe lines when we developed problems with our crane at the head of the boom. Of course, weather was coming, nothing ever happens at sea when there is a good weather window. Anyway, we brought the head of the boom close to the side of the vessel to allow access for repairs. This caused the main hoist wire to lay against the side of the vessel and across the chain holding a 8' diameter tire fender in place. You can see where this is heading. I was concerned with the main hoist wire (and the $6 million pipeline hanging on the end of it.) more than the fender chain. At the time I was told by the construction superintendent there was no problem, that I worried too much and just leave the real work of the vessel to him.
    We were able to repair the sheave on the boom and hung off the pipeline. When we were making our last personnel lift off the platform one of the guys told us that the fender was missing. Again, I heard, "So what! We have plenty of tires at the yard." Within a minute the forward port thruster started ramping up with tremendous vibration and then shut it self down. Uh Oh!
    The kort nozzle around the thruster is 6' diameter and the tire was 8' diameter. The tire was folded in half and sucked into an area between the strut, shaft and propeller approximately a 3' by 2' area.  
    Before we pulled the thruster there were all sorts of theories being put forth and the typical jackassing around about how "this was nothing.  Back in '88 Old Jimmy really screwed up....." Bla, bla, bla. When we pulled thruster there was at least 2 hundred years of marine construction experience on deck and you could hear a pin drop. Nobody had ever seen anything like this.
    We attacked that tire with every tool we had and we have some tools. It was a Cat-In-The-Hat scenario. After several hours whacking, smacking, cutting drilling, burning, pushing, pulling, bending yanking, cussing and cranking, one if the fellas was just nervously hacking at the tire with a hatchet when it started to split. We kept after it and this relaxed a lot to the tension and we were able to pull the tire out. Believe it or not, there was no other damage to the thruster or propeller.
    Epilogue - The some personnel were reassigned and the crew now knows better than to tell me not to worry about something.