No  Oil  Pressure
by  Pat  Gurr
21  Jan  2006
Once when I was Oil King and we were getting ready to get underway an announcement
was made over the 1MC for the Oil King to report to Maneuvering Room on the double.
Scratching my head, wondering why electricians needed the Oil King, I headed aft to see
what was up. When I entered the Maneuvering Room, where the maneuvering watch was
set, I saw the two electricians, one on the port sticks and one on the starboard sticks,
another electrician standing behind them wearing a headset and there was one officer
present. I was told they didn't have any oil pressure on the port and starboard main motor
propulsion shaft bearings. I realized the urgency to solve the problem and begin to feel
some pressure.

As you may remember each shaft was spun both forward and reverse as a test before any
maneuvering bells could be answered. Thus they couldn't test the shafts without oil
pressure and the electricians get credit for checking the oil pressure first before spinning a
shaft and wiping out a shaft bearing. I glanced at the control board and saw the lube oil
pump indicator lights were indicating "on" for both the port and starboard pump. But both oil
pressure gauges were reading zero pressure for the shaft bearings. I climbed down into
maneuvering's drain pump room and observed both lube pumps were running, so I opened
the petcock on the discharge side of each pump to vent the air in the lines and help the
pumps get suction. For a long minute I saw nothing, yet I could feel air discharging from the
pumps through the petcocks and against my hand. I was standing on the lube oil supply
tank so I took the cap off the standpipe and inserted the dipstick downward into the tank.
When I pulled the dipstick out the oil on the stick indicated the supply tank was full. I
spotted a coiled air hose hanging on a valve. The hose was connected to the ship's low
pressure air supply line. I placed the end of the hose into the opening of the standpipe,
stuffed a rag in the opening and around the air hose, then opened the valve on the air
supply. This put air pressure into the lube oil tank, forcing lube oil into the intake line for
the pumps to help the pumps lift the lube oil. As the air pressure built up in the tank
suddenly lube oil was squirting out of each petcock and then I heard a loud squishing noise
and turned to see a large volume of oil squirting out of the shaft bearings. And I mean a
large volume of oil was squirting everywhere and it was a sight to see as well as hear. I
turned off the air, closed the petcocks and stuck my head up the hatch to ask if they had oil
pressure. They said they did. I went back to the engine room and never told anyone what I
did or about all the lube oil on the bulkhead, controllers and deck down in the drain pump
room.
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