NORFOLK (NNS) -- On May 31, Diesel Engine Inspectors (DEI) from Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center's (MARMC) Diesel Engines Division returned from successfully performing Casualty Report (CASREP) repairs while underway on board USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) while forward deployed.
While on board the ship, MARMC' s team conducted repairs to the Carter Hall's Number 3 ship service diesel generator blower. This included the disassembly and removal of the damaged blower from the engine.
"This repair is typically conducted during shipyard availability, but we successfully accomplished this task in a two week period while the ship was underway and fully operational out at sea," said MARMC Diesel Engines Branch Supervisor Pete Verdeschi. "My guys accomplished this not only quicker than conducting it in the shipyard environment, but they were also able to work with Ship's Force to give them hands on experience dealing with a large scale repair normally accomplished in a depot-level availability, and by the original engine manufacturer."
With the Carter Hall at sea supporting tasking in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), the repair itself was considerably more involved than it typically would be because the team was unable to make a hull cut to get the new blower into the engine space. This required the team to rig the damaged components up four decks, disassemble the new blower, and rig all of the parts from the main deck down to the engine room. Once all parts were in the engine room, re-assembly and installation of the 3,500 pound blower began.
The blower itself serves as an air pump that pushes large amounts of air into the engine and, in turn, helps push the exhaust out to create a better air charge to the engine, thus increasing volumetric efficiency. This particular engine also provides the ship with its electrical power, which made it necessary to have it operating at full strength.
"This wasn't something we do every day, but there was never a doubt in my mind that my team could diagnose the problem with the blower and get the new one installed. Being able to show this to the Sailors and teach them something new is also a huge win for our organization, the ship and the Navy," said Verdeschi. "I am extremely proud of how well the guys did with assisting USS Carter Hall and ensuring her mission ready status."
In addition to correcting the CASREP, MARMC's DEIs also conducted a Mid-Cycle Assessment (MCA) to the ship's propulsion plant. The MCA provides vital information needed for preparing the work packages associated with the ship's maintenance and overhaul needs, and will help prepare the ship for its upcoming Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Availability.
"Conducting the MCA is part of the new maintenance strategy the Navy is moving to," said Verdeschi. "This is a 36- month plan, which helps to align inspections, maintenance and other needs between CNO avails to both track potential issue's the ship is having, and to provide oversight and documentation of those upcoming issues as they occur."
The MCA's comprehensive review means that all the ship's engines receive full inspections at various intervals, a review of operating and maintenance records are conducted as well as all ensuring life cycle maintenance requirements are up to date.
"It is a very involved process. All eight of the ship's engines are monitored during performance tests to see if they are within their required performance specifications. If something is out of alignment, and we have the tools and materials needed to make the repair, our guys will conduct the repair on the spot. Otherwise, they adjudicate the engine's current operational conditions and make recommendations for repairs and further engine operations," said Verdeschi.
"This repair and visit took a lot of coordination and people to ensure that we were able to get all the pieces of the puzzle to arrive and fit together. It's just another day for us in the world of diesel engine maintenance," said Verdeschi.
Before leaving the ship, the team also assisted with a resolving a casualty report to the 1Bravo Main Engine by fixing its fuel pump, and corrected load sharing issues with Carter Hall's four main engines and propulsion shafts.
"There is passion in our diesel engine inspectors," said MARMC Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Lannamann. "This is a tremendous example of how dynamic MARMC can be. This was not an easy fix, and juggling the ship's ability to continue with its operations and to be able to assess and make proper repairs is a hard feat to accomplish. These individuals are able to do this every day; I take my hat off to them."
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