October 12, 2014

A “pen-pal” letter for the school kids…From Cam Murphy.

“Hi!  I’m sorry it took me a while to get this going.  I joined the ship on the 4th of October in Corpus Christi, Texas and have been getting settled.  We are currently in the middle of the Atlantic and headed for a port in Ashkelon, Israel.  Last week we had to unexpectedly turn around for a day and a half off the East coast of the United States in order to drop off the Second Engineer in Florida because of a medical issue.  We couldn’t secure someone to take his place so we are currently sailing with a man down in the engine room.  

To clarify, I am sailing as the Third Assistant Engineer.  Generally, there is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Assistant Engineer and a Chief Engineer aboard for the ship’s engine department.  We also have 2 Oilers or Wipers who are unlicensed and help to clean or paint or assist the licensed engineers as needed.

We work 12 hours a day for six days a week and a 10 hour day on Sundays.  At night, the engine room is unmanned but one of the licensed engineers is on call so if something goes wrong, he has to go fix it.  There is an alarm system in the engine room and an alarm panel in each of the engineer’s rooms.  If an alarm sounds in the engine room then the alarm is sent up from the engine control room to the on-call engineer who can go investigate the alarm.  

Usually I have the duty every third night, since the assistant engineers rotate duty days (the Chief Engineer does not stand a duty); however, losing the second engineer was tough because now the first assistant and I alternate duty days.

The ship I am on in called the Mykonos.  She is a 600ft specialty product/chemical tanker with a 12900 hp slow speed diesel for main propulsion.  We are currently contracted with the Government of Israel and are carrying a load of jet fuel.

If the kids have any specific questions or specific areas of interest, it will be easy for me to go from there in my next letter.  I hope all are having a fun and productive school year so far.  Looking forward to hearing back!

Cam Murphy”