11GTCS
11GTCS SuperDork
3/28/24 10:21 p.m.

In reply to golfduke :

Automation is great.  Until it isn't.   (Below is a semi-rant and not at all directed at you)

If we do the rough math and assume of the 21 crew members we have: Ship's Master (Captain), typically not a watch stander.  Chief Engineer, 2nd ranking officer, typically not a watch stander.

First mate (deck department ) First Assistant Engineer.  Not watch standers in my day but I'll say they are now and will give them the "day shift" or the 08:00-12:00 and 20:00-24:00 watch hours.  We'll assign an AB seamen (deck) and an oiler (engine) to each watch.   (4 crew members)

2nd mate  / 2nd AE  / AB / oiler: 24:00-04:00 and 12:00-16:00 watch hours (4 crew members) 

3rd mate / 3rd AE / AB / oiler: 04:00-0:800 and 16:00-20:00 watch hours (4 crew members)

What I've listed above is 14 of the 21 crew members, the absolute rock bottom minimum to stand an underway watch at sea. (Captain and Chief Engineer would be involved in daytime activities)   We still need someone to monitor the cargo, check and repair the refrigerated containers.   Someone that's taking care of duties in the galley.  Deck department needs someone to maintain their winches and equipment, engineers need to clean strainers. transfer fuel, etc.   21 is a pretty fine line on something that's 984' x 158' and loaded with containers.

Maybe these guys are better engineers / deck officers than we we were back then, need less sleep, multitask or whatever.   All I know is on a much smaller ship with a crew complement of 46 I worked my butt off in the engine room with the other engineering cadet for 8 plus hours every day, worked every maneuvering watch with the 1st AE (that was a thing at least then, the 1st stood maneuvering watch and was in charge of maintenance.) and the watch standing mates and engineers had plenty of tasks to keep them busy beyond just watching gauges and plotting our position. 

This is absolutely yet another in a long line of "race to the bottom" situations where the "bottom line" outweighs minimum safety standards.   If the "2 days of power issues in port but screw it we're going to sea" turns out to be based in fact multiple people will (and should) lose their professional mariners licenses.  This incident will become classroom maritime law study for decades to come.

golfduke
golfduke Dork
3/29/24 7:47 a.m.
11GTCS said:

In reply to golfduke :

Automation is great.  Until it isn't.   (Below is a semi-rant and not at all directed at you)

If we do the rough math and assume of the 21 crew members we have: Ship's Master (Captain), typically not a watch stander.  Chief Engineer, 2nd ranking officer, typically not a watch stander.

First mate (deck department ) First Assistant Engineer.  Not watch standers in my day but I'll say they are now and will give them the "day shift" or the 08:00-12:00 and 20:00-24:00 watch hours.  We'll assign an AB seamen (deck) and an oiler (engine) to each watch.   (4 crew members)

2nd mate  / 2nd AE  / AB / oiler: 24:00-04:00 and 12:00-16:00 watch hours (4 crew members) 

3rd mate / 3rd AE / AB / oiler: 04:00-0:800 and 16:00-20:00 watch hours (4 crew members)

What I've listed above is 14 of the 21 crew members, the absolute rock bottom minimum to stand an underway watch at sea. (Captain and Chief Engineer would be involved in daytime activities)   We still need someone to monitor the cargo, check and repair the refrigerated containers.   Someone that's taking care of duties in the galley.  Deck department needs someone to maintain their winches and equipment, engineers need to clean strainers. transfer fuel, etc.   21 is a pretty fine line on something that's 984' x 158' and loaded with containers.

Maybe these guys are better engineers / deck officers than we we were back then, need less sleep, multitask or whatever.   All I know is on a much smaller ship with a crew complement of 46 I worked my butt off in the engine room with the other engineering cadet for 8 plus hours every day, worked every maneuvering watch with the 1st AE (that was a thing at least then, the 1st stood maneuvering watch and was in charge of maintenance.) and the watch standing mates and engineers had plenty of tasks to keep them busy beyond just watching gauges and plotting our position. 

This is absolutely yet another in a long line of "race to the bottom" situations where the "bottom line" outweighs minimum safety standards.   If the "2 days of power issues in port but screw it we're going to sea" turns out to be based in fact multiple people will (and should) lose their professional mariners licenses.  This incident will become classroom maritime law study for decades to come.

No offense taken in any way, I totally agree.  I have worked in or around automated manufacturing equipment for the better part of 20 years.  All it takes is a gummed up or tired $10 sensor, actuator, solenoid, or loose contact in the cabinet to completely crash hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and materials. I've seen it happen so many times I lost count, and its always something small and insignificant that starts the cascading failure chain. 

I work in the Brewing industry now, and we actually paid EXTRA money for manual, hand manipulating butterfly valves instead of air actuated solenoids.  For this exact reason.  If something gets messed up, I want the reason to be ME. 

 

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) MegaDork
3/29/24 9:02 a.m.

In reply to golfduke :

I repair machinery. From CNC machines to industrial saws. It's always the $10 piece destroying the $10,000 back ordered unobtainium piece.

golfduke
golfduke Dork
3/29/24 9:16 a.m.
QuasiMofo (John Brown) said:

In reply to golfduke :

I repair machinery. From CNC machines to industrial saws. It's always the $10 piece destroying the $10,000 back ordered unobtainium piece.

Former Mazak Programming engineer here... Can Confirm.  I got to tell a customer that their 95% finished $1.1M Inconel custom formed slug for a radar dome was now scrap because of an $80 encoder failure after a tool overrun.  Sometimes poop happens, but a good operator paying attention and not needing to run a 10 machine work cell could have saved the part.  They learned that lesson the hard way.  

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
3/29/24 9:18 a.m.
11GTCS said:

In reply to OHSCrifle :

The Coast Guard is reporting that the bow of the ship is sitting on the bottom, it's unclear if there's any damage that would affect being able to re-float the ship after the remains of the bridge are removed from the ship.

Unrelated comment and update to something I mentioned earlier about my experience with US shipping standards vs. others.   I read a report this morning that the total crew of the MV Dali is 21.  That's total of all officers and crew for both deck and engineering departments.   There's no way that small a crew can simultaneously operate, repair and maintain a vessel of that size with that few people and this is the international industry norm now.  The ship I was on 40 years ago?  Crew of 46 including myself and the other engineering cadet.  Something isn't adding up.

That's about standard these days. Reached out to that friend I mentioned earlier that's on a similar sized ship, crew of 26. 

Datsun240ZGuy
Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
3/29/24 1:22 p.m.

My wife talked to her sister yesterday.  Now she's feeding me the conspiracy side of it.

She gets angry if I ask her who "they" are when she mentions "they" are trying to.....blah, blah, blah.....

Turbo_Rev
Turbo_Rev Reader
3/29/24 1:54 p.m.

Every member of the Nimitz class runs both its propulsion plant with roughly 50 people, let's say. 

Tack on the guys at the helm, operations people watching radar, etc., you're probably at about maybe 100. This is with extremely limited automation that's mostly concerned with opening breakers and adjusting valve positions. 

Most other ships will be analogous to this, just with smaller numbers. And the Navy is still complaining about under-manning (and, by extension, over-tasking), and rightfully so, in my opinion. 

However, we once managed to pull off two dead-in-the-waters in two days because a single valve stuck open. From the moment the valve stuck to the moment both reactors were scrammed was maybe.....2 minutes? This was from a valve that is solenoid operated during normal conditions but can easily be manually overidden. 

The point I'm trying to make is even if we had twice the number of watchstanders down there, that ship was going down that day. No one caught this valve in time or even thought about it. We were green as hell, were way too busy trying to deal with all the other problems the valve being stuck open had caused, and we only had 2 minutes. Then we had to scramble to recover.

I'd put the odds at a salty, well-trained, well-rested crew catching that valve at maybe 15% higher, let's say. Not great. 

The clincher is, there would be no practical way of making that valve manually operated. It opens and closes constantly, 24/7/365. Automation, in that case, is unavoidable. 

 The Ford class enjoys (and I mean that) quite a bit more automation than the Nimitz class does in its propulsion plants. The training has shifted slightly towards teaching watchstanders how to manage an automated systems, with the understanding that you will likely have to line up the plant by hand at any given moment. Complacency has always been the enemy, so nothing new there. 

Automation in ships, military or civilian, isn't going away. Even if every branch enjoyed 200% recruiting rates (lol), the Navy long ago realized you get two ships, vice one, if you automate with the same number of sailors. This holds true on the civilian side, I'm sure.  

Of course, that's leaves the question of how responsible is company admin (or command). And what is the "proper" amount of automation? Without knowing the crew, it's impossible to say. 

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adam525i
adam525i SuperDork
3/29/24 7:19 p.m.

Another good video from What is going on with Shipping along with a bunch of links looking at various ship systems in the description. He touches on dropping anchors, esc0rt tugs and starting main engines along with a timeline from the data recorders.

 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UltimaDork
3/29/24 9:16 p.m.

Oh boy. Now it sounds like there's hazmat on board the ship. And, it's leaking. 

https://www.fox5dc.com/news/ntsb-investigating-hazmat-spill-in-baltimore-key-bridge-collapse-probe-could-last-2-years

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
3/29/24 10:36 p.m.

In this picture you can see a sheen coming from the collapsed span in the bottom left. I just assumed it was coming from a trapped vehicle. 

Turbo_Rev
Turbo_Rev Reader
3/29/24 11:46 p.m.

Any ship is a floating HazMat locker, even if it's only because of the fuel they carry. That thing's probably gonna count as a pretty serious ecological disaster, by the time it's all said and done. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/30/24 12:52 a.m.

Baltimore has been talking to the city and state officials here in Minnesota, to get advice from when the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed 17 years ago.  That bridge was not nearly as long, of course, but they were able to get the replacement bridge construction complete just 13 months after the old one went down.  It took a lot of coordination to get funds to pay for it promptly, and the reconstruction was a design-build process which sped things up.

https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/27/economy/minneapolis-bridge-collapse-baltimore-lessons/index.html

Recon1342
Recon1342 SuperDork
3/30/24 9:26 a.m.

In reply to golfduke :

Sometimes, it doesn't take much...

 

Food Processing (French fries)-

We once had a forklift operator snag a flex conduit leading to a pump. When the wires broke, it caused a back feed to an electrical cabinet that fried a VFD to a conveyor responsible for handling full line flow. A commercial food service processing line that handles 70k pounds of potatoes/hr, shut down and cleared out because someone snagged a wire. Took about three hours to repair, and we had to trash about 45 minutes worth of product. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/30/24 12:43 p.m.

In reply to golfduke :

Late reply- how would a human catch the broken sensor, or the decaying system and prevent the shutdown?  Automation and humans would use the same info to control it. More people does not always make it better. So many disasters are because humans missed or misinterpreted information.  
 

No idea on manning of the ship, but I'm not on all of the assumptions. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/30/24 12:47 p.m.

In reply to Turbo_Rev :

Is it really fair comparing a nuclear power system to a large diesel when it comes to running it?

 

Especially when we are comparing a 60's era reactor to a pretty modern diesel?  The ship is less than 10 years old. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/30/24 1:07 p.m.
alfadriver said:

Late reply- how would a human catch the broken sensor, or the decaying system and prevent the shutdown?  Automation and humans would use the same info to control it. More people does not always make it better. So many disasters are because humans missed or misinterpreted information.  

Humans are not better at catching broken sensors.  More people on a ship is more resilient because when the automation has failed you can have humans use the manual overrides until it is fixed.  For example, if there were a power failure that took out the automated rudder control, a ships might have a manual backup rudder that could be operated by a team of people.

Navy ships need larger crews than civilian ones, not only because they have lots of specialized systems (weapons, etc), but because they are expected to go into combat and to continue to operate after taking battle damage and casualties.

 

Turbo_Rev
Turbo_Rev Reader
3/30/24 4:19 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Somewhat. Everything downstream of the steam generators is very similar to any other steam turbine driven ship. They just use burning fossil fuels to heat water instead of reactor coolant. 

If anything, an all diesel system would be far simpler. You'd have to add a lot of complexity to make it as unreliable as a steam plant (which is possible). 

We used diesels to turn our emergency generators, in part because of their reliability. 

But yes, that's all still steam plant stuff.

In either event, there are design and operating principles that carry between nuclear and fuel burning ships, or between any two automated systems. Redundancy, reliability, crew training, etc.

One thing that would be true on either, and the thing that's always blown me mind about conventional ships, is the effect from crew size and training. 

Cordrus alluded to it but if I only had, say, 24(!) crew members on a ship, I'd want them to be pretty damn elite when it came to operations. Fewer eyes, fewer brains, and fewer hands means every action counts for more and has a greater chance of being the wrong one (usually). And you'll need way more automation, if only for opening or closing valves and breakers. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/30/24 5:10 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Well, the rudder is only really effective when the propeller is spinning or the ship is moving fast enough through the water to have any effect. So manual overrides are only so effective. More people doesn't make them more effective. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/30/24 5:14 p.m.

In reply to Turbo_Rev :

The Dali has a very modern and huge diesel engine. And that directly drives the propeller. So it needs only as many people as it takes to run a massive diesel engine. The generator engines don't propel the ship like they do on cruise ships ( which all us electric motors). And they are way beyond turbines turning the props. Not really comparable to a nuclear reactor and steam turbine system in terms of people or sensors needed. 

11GTCS
11GTCS SuperDork
3/30/24 5:36 p.m.
Datsun240ZGuy said:

My wife talked to her sister yesterday.  Now she's feeding me the conspiracy side of it.

She gets angry if I ask her who "they" are when she mentions "they" are trying to.....blah, blah, blah.....

How cool is this forum that we have an actual bridge guy?

Turbo_Rev
Turbo_Rev Reader
3/30/24 6:07 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Disagree on both counts. The sensors would be technically somewhat different but the capability of the crew should be as high as you can get it, which is true on any ship, even if it uses sails. The philosophical principles of operation are, again, going to be quite similar if not identical. That is at least as important as the technical principles. The technical principles will be more different but still alike.

And there's plenty more to operate besides the main engines on the Dali.

The question everyone seems to be driving at is "what, then, is an appropriately sized crew for the level of automation, level of training, and level of professionalism you're willing to accept?" That's a question that's been asked during the design phase of every ship that's been built since we were hollowing out tree trunks to make canoes. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/30/24 7:39 p.m.
alfadriver said:

Well, the rudder is only really effective when the propeller is spinning or the ship is moving fast enough through the water to have any effect. So manual overrides are only so effective. More people doesn't make them more effective. 

My comment about rudders was intended more as a general example, we don't know enough details about this case yet to know if the rudder could have averted the disaster or not.  I have read articles from people in the industry suggesting that the 8 knot speed of the ship was fast enough that it could have, but we'll have to wait for the reports to come out to know for sure.

 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UltimaDork
4/1/24 9:22 a.m.

Saw this picture in my feed this morning. Taken in 1978. 

P3PPY
P3PPY SuperDork
4/1/24 9:38 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:

Saw this picture in my feed this morning. Taken in 1978. 

WHOA that's huge. Man. This view makes that video so much more stunning 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
4/1/24 9:47 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
alfadriver said:

Well, the rudder is only really effective when the propeller is spinning or the ship is moving fast enough through the water to have any effect. So manual overrides are only so effective. More people doesn't make them more effective. 

My comment about rudders was intended more as a general example, we don't know enough details about this case yet to know if the rudder could have averted the disaster or not.  I have read articles from people in the industry suggesting that the 8 knot speed of the ship was fast enough that it could have, but we'll have to wait for the reports to come out to know for sure.

 

If it's anything like my single inboard boat, at low speeds the effectiveness of the rudder goes to zero as soon as you shift into reverse. At that point, prop-walk takes over and the stern goes wherever the prop pushes it. While you can use propwalk to maneuver a vessel, it's not consistent and dependent on the direction and strength of the tide and wind. 

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