by Christer Idhammar
I was seventeen years old when I joined the Swedish Merchant Marines as an apprentice in the engine room of M/T Sven Salen, a 40,000 d.w.t. oil tanker with 24,000 hp on two huge diesel engines. At that time, this was one of the largest ships in the world and the largest to go through the Suez Canal.
The diesel engines on this ship were 35 ft high and had a cylinder diameter of three feet and a stroke of seven feet. They were huge machines! In addition to the propulsion engines, the ship had diesel engines and turbines for generation of electric power and boilers for turbine driven pumps and heating of the grade-four fuel oil and cargo. It also had big air compressors for startup air, refrigeration units for food storage, lubrication and fuel oil cleaning separators, and a lot of other equipment. Continue reading →