WITH REGARDS TO THE ARTICLE entitled ‘Experiences in Marine Engineering’ in the September 2011 issue of Sea Breezes. I was serving as 3rd engineer on Windsor Castle when we had the turbine failure.
It occurred three days out of Capetown homeward bound for Southampton. We were having a little celebration party in my cabin when a junior engineer came looking for the 1st engineer, Mr J Gauld, as the 2nd engineer. Mr J Murphy wanted him down the engine room. About ten minutes later, he came back to my cabin and told me to get my boiler suit on and meet him in the engine room. When he arrived he told me to start removing the port HP turbine thrust pad cover, while an engine room rating helped him fetch a new set of thrust pads.
After replacing the pads, we replaced the cover then waited while they started the turbine back up. As it started, we heard the noise of loose blades, so the next job was to fit the by-pass pipework. This was not successful as the superheated steam at 900 lbs psi was too high for it and shook it to pieces. We found we had to abandon it and run on one engine to Southampton. In the meantime, we went on 12 hour watches to get the turbine casing lifted before Las Palmas, as the Union Castle and Pametrada Engineers were flying out to survey the damage.
Referring to the Transvaal & Windsor Castles there was quite a bit of difference, the Windsor Castle was nearly 5,000 tons heavier, a few feet longer, a deck higher and was fitted with two 25,000 SHP Pametrada engines giving it a maximum output 49,400 SHP. I did not sail on the next voyage; I was transferred to the other flagship ss Nicolas Bowater, which had a dainty 8,000 SHP.
22 Sandown Park, Redcar
Cleveland, TS10 2HJ