‘Navy, the Team Works’ is a very familiar theme used in Navy recruiting ads, but it’s a truism every day at sea where the crew need to rely on each other to keep the ship working to optimum performance.
Recently during trials onboard HMAS Toowoomba Marine Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ray Pozzebon, discovered a ruptured hose in the controllable pitch propeller system, which led to some innovative thinking and a safe and practical engineering solution.
The damaged piece would have imposed severe restrictions on Toowoomba’s speed and manoeuvrability and loss of the system meant key trials would not be completed.
A replacement hose was not held on board so a command meeting was quickly convened to discuss possible options.
“We considered options ranging from taking a hose fitting from one of the non-essential systems through to waiting for a replacement hose to be dispatched to the ship from a warehouse ashore,” Lieutenant Commander Pozzebon said.
Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Carter, recalled a recent briefing in his department about a similar hose repair kit they used to repair the five-inch gun.
“I remembered we had this hose repair capability onboard already and suggested it might be possible to use it in the controllable pitch propeller to restore capability until we could get back to shore,” Lieutenant Commander Carter said.
“Crew members from the Weapons Electrical Engineering team worked closely with their counterparts in the Marine Engineering department to manufacture a replacement hose for the propeller using suitable hose and fittings from the repair kit.”
Lieutenant Commander Pozzebon developed a hazard risk assessment and contacted the relevant Navy engineering authorities to discuss the proposed use the manufactured hose until the replacement could be sourced.
‘They endorsed the proposed course of action,” Lieutenant Pozzebon said.
“The replacement hose was quickly prepared and fitted restoring full propulsion capability to Toowoomba, leading to the rare sight of gun maintainers helping to fix the propeller system.”
The Maritime Logistics organisation sourced and arranged delivery of an original equipment manufactured hose to be fitted during Toowoomba’s next scheduled port visit.
“The co-operation between ship departments and the responsiveness of shore organisations to support ships’ crews at sea, outside of normal business hours, clearly demonstrates that the Navy team does work,” Lieutenant Commander Pozzebon said.