Overview of a Ship's Engine Room
The watch keeping engineer should be familiar with the layout of the engine room, from the top plates that contain the cylinder heads to the stern gland at the end of the propeller shaft. We start outside the engine room, right aft at the steering gear that is accessible from a dogged, rubber sealed door.
Here the large horizontal hydraulic rams can be seen operating the rudder by small-bore copper pipes and a telemotor, sending signals from the bridge wheel to the ram servo-motors.
Entering the engine room and down to the top plates we find the cylinder heads, where the exhaust gas outlet along with the fuel injector cooling water temperatures should be noted.
The air-start valve supply pipes should feel relatively cool. Any sign of excess temperature could signify a leaking air start valve; requiring immediate investigation.
Same thing goes for the relief valve outlet piping, any excessive temperature signifying a leaking relief valve or the relief valve feathering (just lifting and shutting) and again requires investigation.
Next level down is the turbo-blowers being located at the back of the engine; they are supplied from the exhaust gas manifold; various temperatures and pressures to check.
Next or same level at the front of the engine we find the fuel pump (if not common rail), scavenge doors and scavenge drains to the slop tank.
For’d from here is the main switchboard (if not incorporated into the control room) check generator (s) loads.
Lube and fuel oil centrifuge room, workshop, and stores usually on this level, as well as day tanks for generators.
Next level down takes us to the bottom plates, walking along these, check temperature of crankcase doors, and cylinder lube oil supply pumps operation. Walk around generators checking temperatures as well as the circulating pumps operation.
Once at the control station (if not in control room), glance at the main control board various gauges, past the thrust block and shaft bearings then through the watertight door into the tunnel. Here the shaft bearings should be checked by hand for over temperature and oil level in the glass observed. Finally, when you can go no further you are at the stern gland, a little trickle of seawater dripping into the stern well ensures the gland is being cooled and lubricated.