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The Way The U.S. Coast Guard Replaces Its Largest Ship’s Motor Is Mind-Blowing

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

BoatlopnikAs a result of boats are automobiles too

A fireplace broke out on the USA Coast Guard’s largest ship final summer time, destroying one of many vessel’s huge electrical motors. Now the Coast Guard, one of many 5 service branches of the U.S. army, is changing that motor and documenting the whole course of, which entails slicing a large gap within the hull. The entire thing is fascinating. Test it out.

The USCGC Healy is the most important and most superior ship within the Coast Guard’s fleet, able to breaking 4.5 ft of ice at three knots, and it’s outfitted with over 4,000 sq. ft of laboratory house. On August 18, throughout an Arctic analysis mission, a fireplace broke out and ruined a propulsion motor, forcing the research ship to return to Washington State. The Coast Guard breaks down what occurred in its memo:

The Healy was 60 nautical miles off of Seward, Alaska, en path to the Arctic when {an electrical} hearth was reported at 9:30 p.m. A fireplace group disconnected the affected motor, and the fireplace was confirmed extinguished by 9:56 p.m. The reason for the fireplace is at the moment unknown.

[…]

As a result of hearth, Healy’s starboard propulsion motor and shaft are not operational, and the ship is transiting again to its homeport in Seattle for additional inspection and repairs.

Fortunately, there have been no accidents reported, and there’s nonetheless no phrase on the reason for the fireplace. What is thought is that the Coast Guard should exchange that damaged starboard propulsion motor. It is likely one of the electrical motors that spin the propellers, powered by juice from mills spun by the ship’s diesel engines. “This Design,” the Coast Guard writes, “protects the engines from variations in shaft speeds inherent to ice operations.”

The Coast Guard’s Fb web page for Healy describes the analysis ship’s powertrain setup and why it makes use of 35,000 horsepower (mixed) electrical motors as a substitute of the diesel engines to spin the props:

Healy’s powerplant consists of 4 engines, which energy mills, which in flip generate the electrical energy to function the motors which flip the shafts and propellers. Healy can cruise with all 4 mains working, or as few as one. Bringing additional engines on-line will increase not solely our pace, however our icebreaking energy.

One of many two propulsion motors, the starboard one, together with its shaft, is now out of fee. The excellent news is that the Coast Guard has a spare, although it has been sitting for the roughly 23 years that the boat has been in service.

Per the Coast Guard, the spare motor was constructed across the time the ship was constructed and has been sitting in a constructing specifically erected for the big propulsion system. It’s fairly superior:

“After 23 years in storage, our substitute motor is on the way in which to fulfill us in Mare Island through the Panama Canal. Good factor they created a spare once they constructed the ship,” the caption within the Instagram put up (which exhibits the spare motor being faraway from its longtime enclosure) reads.

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

As of August 31, the Coast Guard had parked the Healy in its home port of Seattle, and engineers have been taking a peek on the injury. By October 18, the ship was within the Mare Island Dry Dock in Vallejo, California, (proven under) able to endure repairs. “As a result of the motor is on the starboard facet,” the Coast Guard notes on an Instagram post, “you possibly can see how intently we’re docked on the port facet, to create sufficient clearance to take away the motor.”

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard exhibits off this parking job in its put up under:

Right here’s how tight issues are on the port facet:

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

Right here’s one other look:

A later Instagram put up exhibits the perpetrator that has the ship docked within the first place: the starboard propulsion motor. It’s huge.

To take away that motor requires the Coast Guard to fastidiously examine the hull. “Earlier than any slicing may be executed, the hull must be cleared of barnacles and different biofouling,” the Coast Guard writes on its Instagram web page, “after which inspected for injury.”

The picture under exhibits a employee cleansing the hull. “Earlier than opening up the hull, the barnacles and different marine life, referred to as ‘biofouling’ should be eliminated” the Coast Guard writes. “Strain washing will get the job executed with out negatively affecting the hull.”

Take a look at how properly that stress washer is clearing away all of that biofouling:

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

After the cleansing, the Coast Guard inspected the hull and assessed “the resilience of the paint.” Right here’s a picture displaying the inspection course of; on this case, it’s the starboard prop that’s being scrutinized:

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

With cleansing and inspection executed, contractors have been prepared to chop the hull. However earlier than they did that, they coated up the working motor with plastic as they started dismantling the starboard electrical motor — a job that concerned “electrical and mechanical disconnections and body slicing,” per the Coast Guard.

In November, the large substitute motor that had been sitting in its personal constructing arrived on a barge:

The Coast Guard’s put up exhibits technicians utilizing slicing torches to slice a gap into the hull from inside the ship, although slicing must be executed from the skin as properly.

“There is no such thing as a hatch we will open to take away the starboard propulsion motor: the ship was constructed round it,” the Coast Guard writes, “so we have to lower the hull. Contractors are at work inside and out of doors creating the opening.”

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

The results of all that slicing? An enormous aperture within the ship that reveals the defective motor:

On the base of the photograph under, you possibly can see the big chunk of hull that contractors lower out:

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

With rigs in place to maneuver the large propulsion motors, the subsequent step within the motor-swap course of is for a crane to do the heavy lifting.

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

That’s the place issues stood as of yesterday, per the Healy’s latest Facebook post. Positively keep watch over that web page for updates on this fascinating course of.

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Photograph: U.S. Coast Guard

Reducing a gap within the hull of a ship is just about commonplace process for conducting a powertrain swap on a big vessel. The video under exhibits the same operation going down on a cruise ship:

The sheer quantity of effort going right into a ship motor swap is simply fascinating. And right here I believed changing the heavy AMC 360 V8 in my Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle was powerful.



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Author

David Tracy on Jalopnik, shared by Kaitlyn Jakola to Gizmodo