4 August, 2002
We started EB 2 early this morning under dark gray skies, a strong wind, and rain. By the time we finished, the sun was out and it felt warmer even though the wind had not died down. Soon after breakfast it clouded over again, and everyone on deck had on all their cold weather gear by the time we started our final station right after lunch. Shortly after lunch someone spied a polar bear, but I missed it! Weíve been among both small and large ice floes and the bear had found a large one for itself. We finally completed the East Barrow transect at dinner time today. After dinner, Jim and I sectioned our core (took the mud in layers and preserved it in cans to go back to the University of Tennessee for analysis). Later in the evening I had a chance to talk with LT. Greg Stanclik, Engineer Officer on the USCGC Healy.
Greg ducked easily under low areas of the ship as he guided me on a tour of what makes this ship run. Even though Greg is 6í6Ē tall, he looks small standing next to some of the machinery! Greg has only been on board the Healy for a month, but he sure knows his way around and he clearly loves his job. It took us two hours to complete our tour, and Iím going to try to give you some of the highlights. We began in the engine room where we found out that it takes four engines to turn the shipís four generators. If all four generators ran at one time (they donít), they would generate enough power to light a small city! There are 12 pistons/diesel engine, and each piston produces 840 horsepower (thatís equal to the horsepower of four big pick up trucks)! The generators produce 6600 volt electricity which must be transformed as low as 110 volts (what you would find in the average household). This much power allows the ship to run in open ocean at 12 knots while still providing enough power for all the science equipment, winches, and the general electricity for the ship.
Remember that the Healy is 420 feet long. Can you guess how much fuel it uses? When the ship is underway, it burns 5000 Ė 6000 gallons of fuel each day, and it might use up to 20,000 gallons/day if it is steadily steaming in heavy ice. The ship holds 1.2 million gallons of fuel which is stored in fuel tanks, four to five decks high, along the sides of the ship. There are very few places big enough to re-fuel this ship, and it takes most of one full day to refuel. A ship must always be balanced to ride smoothly and evenly in the water. The Healy has a 30 foot draft (the amount of the ship that is under the surface), and it uses both water and fuel for ballast. As the fuel is burned, itís replaced by sea water to keep the ballast even. I found it interesting that the ship is designed so the bow (front end) of the ship rides one foot higher than the stern (back end). Thatís so it can ride up and crush ice. The entire ship has a displacement (the amount of water it pushes aside) of 16,000 long tons. Since one long ton equals 2240 pounds, thatís 35,840,000 pounds!
The Healy was designed to be a science research vessel, but it is also specifically designed to work in higher latitudes. It is definitely an icebreaker. Underneath the ship is a solid steel wedge called an ice knife approximately 6 feet high and 6-7 feet long. Along each side of the ship is an ice belt, a 10 foot tall band of thicker steel running the length of the ship. Everything that runs this ship is computerized; the entire system is one of a kind for the Coast Guard right now. We went to the Engineering Control Center where the MPCMS, or Main Propulsion Control Monitoring System makes everything happen. The array of computers and the giant switchboard give you some idea of the complexity of the entire operation. There are 5400 monitoring points (ex. fire and flood alarms, oil pressure, temperature, flow meters from the sea water, etc.) that the computers take in as data. An interesting note is that all records are electronic and all are in Greenwich Mean Time (thatís in England, at 0 degrees longitude). Thatís because the company that made much of the equipment (ex. main motors, MPCMS, etc) is based in England and, if there is a problem, they can connect directly through in order to trouble shoot.
How about just a few more interesting facts? Each day when we are working to process our samples, we are accompanied by the sound of the huge winches that control the wire that lowers and raises the sampling equipment. There are 6 drums of wire of varying thickness. The wire goes to the 2 oceanographic winches which are used for most of the oceanographic instrumentation (for example, the van Veen grab and the CTD rosette) and to the dual drum trawl/core winch whish is used for large oceanographic equipment such as the dredges and the coring system. You know that the Healy is 420 feet long, but how tall is it? Itís 157 feet tall (thatís the height above the water line) not including the radar array. It you add the draft of approximately 30 feet, the ship is a total of 187 feet tall! Each time it goes out, it must carry enough fuel for 65 days including a minimum of 12 days at full power. In addition, it must carry 180 days worth of provisions. Lastly, when it was delivered in 1999, it cost a mere $350,000,000! This is one amazing ship.
Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.