martin's marine engineering page logo A classic looking American lighthouse, signaling the entrance of the strait of Mackinaw on Lake Michigan, picture by M Leduc, August 2013

Here's what's new

 ...and when it occurred

June 23, 2017

What can I say; family, work... life, is getting in the way of timely updates of this site. The site is aging as I am; and us older "things" have to make way for the faster, younger internet, and with everything online now, seems my relevance is somewhat diminished. Back in the 1990's when I created this site, there was little help in becoming a Marine Engineers, there was a need for information freely shared; to some degree we are now able to find the information we seek from he appropriate sources quickly. The site was always a repository of information, so I guess I continue to do so, but at a more slumber pace. Be wary of all this information available everywhere, it doesn't not mean there is allot of wisdom; hopefully you can find a little of both here.

On the The Monitor, the blog area, I dwell on the Canadian maritime workforce and its affect on pay and benefits - Part One; How a hamburger affects your wage. In Part Two; Wage Standards are introduced as we try to firm up what the work of Marine Engineer should pay. Additionally, big changes are on the horizon with Transport Canada and how it licenses Canada's Marine Engineers; and a cautionary tale about MRSA, and how seafarers are at particularly risk of this severe, potentially deadly infection.

A new technical page: Guidance on care and operation of Oily Water Separators, and another, on what the Cetane number in Diesel fuel means. I uploaded a photo tour of the various Marine Training institutions in Canada, that I've taken over the years.
I have been known to be a bit "long winded", indeed some of the main areas of the site, like the Officer's Lounge, proved this. So I decided to cut it up and group them into five "smaller", individual web pages, of common themes: jokes for sailors, practical jokes at sea, sea lore, funny stories, nerdy finds. Have a look at the newly refitted area; have a laugh, and  let me know what you think.
Also, lots of new documents uploaded, over forty of them all over the website, easy to download and learn from, mainly in the Ship's Library, and the Machinery Page. For instance, on the Machinery Page, learn about alternators, cyclo-converters, transformers, arc flash safety, and "electric" ships. Also, all about Fuel Cells aboard ships from an EMSA report. In the Ship's Library, you can download the whole USCG question bank for Engineering and Navigation exams; a copy of the new Polar Code, Transport Canada's FAQ about the MED refresher for STCW2010, accident report on Herald of Free Enterprise - 20 years old disaster, the VDR transcript of El Faro, and a paper on Rogue Waves. All available for downloading, as usual, just look for the for all the new content. Very handy, but hard to find parts, shop, and operator's manuals can now be found on the Detroit Diesel page.
...and over at www.seafarermedia.com - the marine picture archives - I added numerous new pictures, mostly of ships, from my recent travels at sea.

 


A classic looking American lighthouse, signaling the entrance of the strait of Mackinaw on Lake Michigan, picture by M Leduc, August 2013

November 01, 2016

Celebrating 17 years online ! <checking now, my sanity> Yeah I know, its been a while since the last update, but what can I say, kids, full time job, full time life.

"No Poaching" and other "Gentleman's Agreement" are under the spotlight, over on the recently refitted - The Monitor, our blog. Many decades of ignoring an aging workforce or its replacement, has created a shortage of Marine Engineers in Canada and around the world. Some ship operators have countered what should be the simple laws of "supply and demand" by having agreements to keep their things running, but there is a cost to this, whose paying for it?

In this update, lots of new documents uploaded, about 100 of them all over the website, easy to download and learn from, mainly in the Ship's Library, and the Machinery Page. For instance on the Machinery Page: Project Guide for the Wartsila 20, intro to WinGD X engine, a PowerPoint on welding on steel ships, Mitsubishi explains LP EGRs, learn the fundamentals of motor controls, help in identifying hydraulic threads and connections, all on AIS and much more. Over on the Ship's Library: Guidelines on enclosed space ops, Tokyo MOU 2014 report, several documents on drug testing, and lots of engineering relevant accident reports, like LeBoreal ER fire - those damn fuel filters - a list of 2015 marine accidents from RoosePartners, an interesting Study on Bullshit, etc.

Over in the Historical Area, a PowerPoint on BC shipbuilding by Malcolm McClaren, a piece on Davie Shipyard (in French) and it's history, an interesting CIA guide on sabotage, mostly revolving around engineering stuff. Not much going on on my Cdn. Seafarer Tax Project, but there has been a recent ruling about taxes in India which has those seafarers up in arms. A few new funny graphics in the Officer's Lounge.

As usual, just look for the for all the new content. Carried out an extensive site wide link review, always time consuming, added new links, deleted old one, modified others; I also did minor "back office" reorganization which may result in some issues. If you encounter dead links, let me know.


The sun sets on a Maersk box ships sailing in the Indian Ocean, picture by M Leduc, May 2015

March 06, 2016

A photo tour of the wonderful, if not ancient, engine room of the recently retired, MV Catherine Desgagnes, and its DC generators and distribution system. In keeping with that theme, a photo essay of a typical Great Lakes bulk carrier's engine room, some common pet peeves of mine, and how they might have safety implications.
Over at SeafarerMedia.com, a whole new gallery has been uploaded. Its full of graphics, drawings, sketches, animations, etc, illustrating many engineering principles and components found on ships.

It's been many moons since I wanted to refresh the blog area of the site, The Monitor, which was hosted by Google's Blogger for the last ten years. Its an area of opinions and musing about matters that affect seafarers in the commercial shipping world.
Well, the newly redesigned and expanded blog, still called The Monitor, is finally here.
I have slightly expanded the scope of the blog to include industry news and press releases from relevant marine companies. I am still tweaking the design and function, but all 600 past blog posts now reside here, on our servers, under www.dieselduck.net. It's been a long year since I have posted any new content, but that will change, and I welcome you to rediscover the blog and post your comments. The new URL address for The Monitor is www.dieselduck.net/blog/ .

 

Groupe Ocean dock in Quebc City
Part of Groupe Ocean's tug fleet at the Port of Quebec, just prior to the construction of heir new main office in 2012

November 12, 2015

A bit of a "placeholder update" this time, but have you checked out The Common Rail our forum area? Lots of great discussions there, which are sure to be of interest to all Marine Engineers. I have also been doing some back of the house "sprucing up". In particular the exam area of the Ship's Library. In the History area, minor updates to the Prime Mover development timeline. Will be carrying out more as time permits.

We've been dealing with some heavy stuff at home, so my time has been taxed quite a bit; I have lots of new, interesting stuff which I hope to upload soon.

CCGS Terry Fox
CCGS Terry Fox in Charlottetown PEI on a brisk February afternoon in 2009, pic my Martin Leduc.

May 24, 2015

I was at sea for a long voyage, so I exercised my creative mental muscle, and came up with scenario that might exist in twenty years from now, when humans are no longer crewing ships. What would "a day in the life" of a superintendent of one of these drones ships be like? Would drones really save resources? Indulge me, have a looksee at The Shipping Dead; send me your ideas and observations, especially the technical ones. 

Updated the Doxford area, with a description of the Nem-Stop utilized on some Doxford engines, improving stopping speed, you can find it in the Historical Area; you'll also find an enhanced the list of Argentinian built Doxford, with pictures of the ships. There is also a couple of older books to download, on the History of ships, and Clipper Ships. Charles of N.C., USA, submitted some pictures of Sunoco fleet mates; I grouped some additional information into a new Sun Ships page.

Really cool documents and programs were uploaded on the Machinery Page, such as Project Guides for a MAN large slow speed, and a Wartsila 20. A simple CAD program, and an Engine Room Simulator; some water test equipment buying tips, and Woodward's 3161 governor manual; ABB also offers us operator tips for turbo chargers. I also uploaded a full set of line drawings of engineering systems for a large tankers and CIMAC guidelines for Low Sulphur operation.

Over in the Ship's Library, you will find more uploads to read. Some accident reports, a report on Canada's AOPS and how it's an ill conceived plan. Equasis has its 2013 world fleet report and there is an interesting paper on how shipping changed the world. In the training area, I uploaded the new TC8911 regs which have the potential to revolutionize your career, if you are just starting out in Canada. Curious about yacht certification regulations for engineers, handy guide here.

Over in the Image Area, you'll find two photo books, one on the Costa Concordia Salvage, the other on Davie Yard's 717th ship, the Cecon Pride. I also added some graphics in the Lounge, and Seafaring areas, as well as an article on Indian seafarer taxes on the Tax Project area. AT submitted some questions encountered during the 3rd Class Motors, and EK General while Aaron submitted some from his 4th Class EK Orals. IK and MH submitted some 2nd Class EK General and MH also submitted some EK Motors questions recently encountered.

Algosteel
Algoma Central Corp's self unloading "laker" Algosteel underway on the St Lawrence River, near Sorel. Picture by Martin Leduc 2011.

December 01, 2014

This past November 20th, 2014, Martin's Marine Engineering Page - www.dieselduck.net, turned 15 years old. Wow, what a ride its been, thanks for sharing it with me. Keeping the website up and running smoothly has been a bit of a challenge these days; the website is basic, but still needs quite a bit of maintenance, just like any ship. A great deal of my recent time off at home, has been spent upgrading and tweaking back office software, which has proven to be quite challenging.

In particular, a major upgrade to the forum area, The Common Rail, was overdue and is taking longer to work out the bugs than I anticipated. We have some great new features available, and the electronic board is fast and safe, unfortunately I am having challenges with signing on as new users, and some related user initiated customizing. I am working through the problem and hope to have a solution soon. Thanks for your patience!

 Sorry, no interesting features in this update. Its been a super busy year for me on many levels. Work has been particularly unpredictable and its been hard to carve out time to work on the website with any regularity. This year, I also undertook numerous career related projects that have eaten up a great of time.
I will be out to sea this year for the holidays, working in Newfoundland, hope you all stay safe and warm. Happy Holidays ! Feel free to send me an emails / pictures, I love to connect with peers, and see what you are doing during the Christmas season, where ever you are in the world.


Ship's crew navigates bergy bit to discharge cargo during a summer arctic resupply trip, picture by John Megaw

September 01, 2014

More of a housekeeping update this time, with cleaning out numerous dead links and adding a few new ones 'here n there' on the 'major' pages. I'm scheduled to head out to sea next week, to the high north, without internet; I figured I'd be on time with my update, and get it done before I left home. I did a fairly extensive update a month ago; look for the icon, and check the July 2014 entry on the "What's New" page, for the specifics done over the summer. I've been busy posting some entries on The Monitor, the blog. I've also become quite addicted to Twitter it seems, so if it fits your fancy, connect with me at @dieselduckster. Despite the usual slowdown of web traffic over the summer, The Common Rail has had a steady feed of new things to learn and discuss about.

 I've been very busy this Summer, spreading the word about the MV Silja Festival, the Latvian flagged cruise ferry operating in northern British Columbia under a Coasting Trade Act waiver. The engineering and deck positions onboard are being staffed by non Canadians, and its use of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program sets a dangerous precedent for the whole industry in Canada. This does, and will continue to put massive downward pressure on wages and conditions across Canada. I've listed it as a Special Project of mine and if you have any input, I'd love to hear from you. I have no problem competing with peers on the global market, but as Canadians, our high income tax load and cost of living make it impossible for us to do just that.

If you are noticing an increase in spelling mistakes, its my new laptop, a Toshiba, one of the worst keyboard I have ever worked on. The keys are pretty to look at, but unfortunately they don't always register when pressed down, causing me lots of spelling mistakes that are very tedious and time consuming to pick out. Apologies if I missed some; let me know and I will fix.

The bridge of the MV Oceanex Avalon on her weekly stop in Montreal. Photo by Martin Leduc, May 2008
The bridge of the MV Oceanex Avalon on her weekly stop in Montreal. Photo by Martin Leduc, May 2008

July 15, 2014

I like to issue an updated website with new content about every two months, it is allot of work. But with my work on The New Wave, things have been kinda slow here due to a shortage of time. Apologies. Hopefully this update is well received. If you are noticing an increase in spelling mistakes, its my new laptop, a Toshiba, one of the worst keyboard I have ever worked on. The keys are pretty to look at, but unfortunately they don't always register when pressed down causing me lots of spelling mistakes that are very tedious and time consuming to pick out. Apologies again...

In this update, I uploaded quite a few "new things" in the "old things" section, a.k.a. The Historical area. Four new drawings including the extensive General Arrangement of the Deepwater Horizon, and some early 1900 German ships, including a very neat excavator dredge. There are some news books to download, including the story of Teekay Shipping, and a great collection of 1940's era Marine Engineering training manuals. Some of the stuff is still quite relevant and applicable to todays young (and old) engineering types. Also a new spread sheet on Doxford built in Australia.

Uploaded some new documents in the Training, and Machinery Pages. New Zeland's certification regulations. All you need to know about lube oil maintenance, a neat stability simulator, read an extensive research paper on cylinder liner deposit, and suggested way of dealing with it, guide on Personal Safety on ships from TC, and more. 

In the Ship's Library you will find the Hebron Project overview, the ITF's STCW10 Guide for seafarers, a pictorial summary of the world's icebreakers by the USCG, a blurb about Vancouver Seabus. You will also find a homage to Jesse Calhoon of MEBA - a union in the USA; an interesting read about the Kulluk-Aiviq accident in Alaska, and an interesting court decision regarding Transport Canada's AMP (fines) and a bunkering mishap. Also added some graphics in the Officer's Lounge, and Building Titanic slide show in the image area. Over on www.seafarermedia.com, my main picture area, you will find pictures from Marine Engineering The New Wave conference and exhibition.

Also updated various areas with new information submitted by kind contributors, who have chosen to share their knowledge: Amir sent his comments on corrosion. Faithful contributor Tom, sent an insightful article by Denys Griffiths about the engineering team onboard Titanic as she foundered. Jeff sent us 2nd Class EK General TC questions he's encountered. There is more questions, but I lost them when my email crashed, so if you don't see the stuff you've submitted recently posted, please resubmit - I apologies for that.

CTMA Vacancier
CTMA's cruise ferry Vacancier heads downriver on her weekly run from Montreal to the Madeleine Islands, located in the St Lawrence Gulf. Picture by M Leduc June 2010.

 

April 19, 2014

Marine Engineering - The New Wave has released its full technical program. It is a diverse and interesting program for all Marine Engineers. There will be topics from the Navy perspective, shipbuilding, a couple of presentations on LNG, one from BC Ferries. Lots of high end stuff from the design and research aspects of the Marine industry. Not too mention a full plate of renewable resource projects on and below the waterline and practical ship operations topics. UVic will make a presentation on hybrid propulsion alternative, while Corvus will talk about a fully electric ferry in Europe, amongst others. It really is a full - 24 technical presentations - program featuring some great Pacific Northwest content. You are encourage to visit the website and learn more, then come ! I will see you there.

What is Marine Engineering The New Wave? It is a technical conference and exhibition occurring in Victoria BC, June 2014,  if you, or your company are thinking in participating - attending, sponsoring or exhibiting, now is the time to book! Visit the website for more participation info or follow the Twitter feed @catchthenewwave. Early bird pricing is in effect until early May.

As most regular visitors know, this is principally a hobby website for me. I fit it in between family and work commitments, but with the large amount of time I've committed to The New Wave, this space has suffered some what. But I haven't given up. Actually, quite contrary, my programmer and I are working on some site improvements, we hope to release soon. I also have lots of material on the back burner, so I will start chewing on that soon and probably be back with a full update over the summer.

Workers at Groupe Ocean's Ille aux Coudres near Quebec City, pull the propeller shaft of the 4000hp tug William J Moore. Picture by Martin Leduc, March 2009
Workers at Groupe Ocean's Ille aux Coudres near Quebec City, pull the propeller shaft of the 4000hp tug William J Moore. Picture by Martin Leduc, March 2009

 

January 23, 2014

Happy New Year to you! I started my new year on a tug, doing a salvage job in the eastern end of Lake Ontario, in the middle of a major cold snap / ice storm. What fun it was !

In the Historical Area, Tom Bates shares 11 more sets of awesome drawings featuring old ship, their machinery spaces and General Arangement. Over in the Doxford area, Alfons produced a couple more lists of ships, in Norway and China, powered by Doxford opposed piston engine. I also uploaded some really neat old books and articles - however you might need the EPub plug in available for Firefox. One is about being a seafarer in 1903, another is US deck officer exams in 1868, as well a Sother's notes for engineers, written in 1916. Some really neat Historical stuff. 

In the Ship's Library, 19 new documents were uploaded; a treasure trove of important marine information. For example Mike's Guide for TC 3rd Class EK for General and Motors, great help to study. You can now find accident investigation reports, by different organization, on relevant engineering mishaps, such as the Emma Maersk ER flooding, the Petersfield grounding, Coastal Inspiration control failure; read about troubles with emergency system on Costa Concordia, and more. All make interesting reading and provide valuable lessons. Also uploaded, interesting statistic pieces on shipping, and some additional articles, not to mention Canadian government policy papers.

Over on the Machinery Page, you will find new documents uploaded for you to learn from. Tips from ABB on running your turbo, troubleshooting cooling systems, a new fuel section, taking care of wire ropes, ABCs of propulsion from MAN, etc. Added Hong Kong certification Standards on the Training Page. In the Image Area, you'll find pictures of a massive turbo generator failure and the carnage it caused.

In the Video Library, I "refitted" the video reviews area and uploaded some reviews, one on A Highjacking, and Whale Wars Season 3. On the Bibliography page, a couple of resource documents were added, as well as adding to the long list of "friends of the site", which has given their experience to make this site better - thank you.


The container ship MV Valentina heads up the St Lawrence River in Canada, on her way to Montreal, passing Sorel, one cold February day in 2009. By Martin Leduc.

 

December 01, 2013

Long time visitor, contributor, friend of the site, and new father, Mike, has submitted recent Transport Canada 2nd Class EK General and EK Motors exam questions. He also sent in the study guides he created, to study for the TC 2nd Class EK General and EK Motor exams, for the benefit of the community. You can find Mike's Guide in the Exam Help area of the Ship's Library. Thank you Mike.

Planning for Marine Engineering - The New Wave is well underway, with sponsors, exhibitors and presenters showing good interest. If your are involved in the marine field, ship operations, ship building, repairs, etc, this event occuring in Victoria, June 2014, is not to miss. With Seaspan in full yard modification mode for the National Ship Procurement Program, BC Ferries latest announcement for three newbuilds, and design offices abuzz, this is a ideal event to learn, network and be seen. Visit the website for more participation info or follow the Twitter feed @catchthenewwave.

I contracted a devastating computer virus, midway through my last contract at sea, so I was not able to do my usual update to the site, so not much new this time on the main site. However I am still putting stuff up on The Monitor (Blog) and Twitter @dieselduckster - of course, when within WiFi reach. Over on The Common Rail, our forum, there is a always an interesting discussion going on. I am suppose to be home for Christmas this year, a nice change from last year, spent at sea; hope you are too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Product tanker Stena Perros on the St Lawrence River bound for Montreal, picture by M Leduc, June 2008
Product tanker Stena Perros on the St Lawrence River bound for Montreal, picture by M Leduc, June 2008

 

October 02, 2013

A massive amount of eyeball massaging material uploaded. Uploaded 28 new videos in the Video Area. Over at Seafarer Media, our picture archive site, I uploaded almost 600 new pictures. The large majority from my own camera - such as an Engine Room tour of the Oceanex Avalon, a Canadian flagged container ship. A long time coming series of pictures of behind the scenes action, and people, from my time at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line - a series which brought back fond memories of a great time of professional development for me. Another Engine Room tour, of the CSL Frontenac this time, a Great Lakes bulk carrier; and a series on a Cat D397 which dropped a valve on me. Also uploaded a large series of pictures from my time over in the Arabian Gulf, near Dubai, while working in a shipyard, modifying a tug. And there is a few more pics added into the Ship Buffet, People and Engine Room and Submitted categories as well.

I am scheduled to be back out to sea in a few days, so it will be quiet again from my end. Been very busy at home, enjoying some more home remodeling and enjoying summer with my spouse and our boys. I have also been very busy volunteering on a project I am helping out with - Marine Engineering The New Wave. Its a technical conference for marine professionals set for June 2014 in Victoria. The website is up and running and we are looking for Speakers, Sponsors, and Exhibitors, so, if you or someone you know, is interested in participating, let them know to drop by the conference website - www.thenewwave.ca or follow it on Twitter @catchthenewwave.
Also added a few links here and there across the website, just look for the "new" icon. Been busy on my own Twitter as well; its a bit of a "shiny new toy" for me, but I enjoy tweeting, you can follow my feed @dieselduckster.

Maersk Palermo at the Port of Montreal. Picture by Martin Leduc, 2008
The container ship Maersk Palermo on a port call to Montreal, June 2008, photo by Martin Leduc

August 20, 2013

Australian migration adventure is my latest piece, in a multi year long look at my Marine Engineering career, and how I can move it forward. This particular article describes our motives, successes and failures, while attempting to immigrate to Australia, for the purpose of professional developments - getting my Class 1 Certificate of Competency. In sort of explaining this drastic move, I also wrote up two other supporting articles touching on the various motivators, such as Transport Canada, STCW10, Certificates of Recognition and what our options are as my career matures.
Seeing a common theme, from the above, previous few articles, and project like Blue Riband, that have consumed much of time developing, I decided  to create a special area of the Ship's Library, dealing with these career "ponderings" and challenges. I am sure someone else is going through it as well, so feel free to send me your thoughts.  

I finally 'gave in' and joined Twitter ! I was not sure how I would use it per se, but after signing up for it, for the upcoming Marine Engineering - The New Wave, the technical conference in Victoria, next June, I saw the benefits in starting my own Twitter feed. I post more personal things on there, and interesting bits of maritime lore and news. Its easier to Tweet, as a Blog Entry can take up to a day to make, but so many neat maritime items come across my desk all the time. You'll find me at @dieselduckster, if you choose to "follow" me.
Also performed extensive 'refits' on two popular pages - finally - the short biography of Rudolph Diesel and the Prime Mover Development Timeline, where you'll find a chronological list of prime mover developments, and in particular, how they relate to ships. I also uploaded the Carnival Valor engine room fire report by the USCG, which makes a great read, if not a scary one.

A beautiful sunset is captured from a NEAS ship on its summer Arctic resupply run, photo by John Megaw, July 2008
A beautiful sunset is captured from the NEAS ship MV Qamutik on its summer Arctic resupply run, photo by John Megaw, July 2008

 

June 24, 2013

The Vancouver Island Branch (VIB) of the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering (CIMarE) is pleased to announce that it will host a technical conference and marine exhibition called, Marine Engineering : The New Wave. It will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, next May 7-9, 2014. This conference is just the latest in a long list of successful conferences, hosted by a group of dedicated Marine Engineering professional, who volunteer their time to present these very important, and relevant, technical event for the marine community. This is an ideal time for technical presenters, sponsors, and marine suppliers, and of course those interested in attending to state their interest in particiapting. Please visit the www.thenewwave.ca for more details, and be sure to follow the conference Twitter feed @catchthenewswave for the latest announcements.

The CIMarE the only national organization that represents the Marine Engineering profession in Canada. The organization, established in 1976, brings professionals together for technical presentations, social and networking events through its seven branches, located across Canada. If you are a Canadian Marine Engineer, sailing or not, or a company involved in the profession, please consider joining us; find out more from the CIMarE website.

As you may be aware, I was in the Middle East for a month, and sailing past pirates from Dubai to Suez for nearly another month, on a "new to the company" vessel. Needless to say, the extreme heat, technical challenges and lack of internet, meant I did not do much for the website since before then. I am slowly putting some weight back on, and getting back online. Unfortunately for my "regulars" my online adventures have been setting up the web site for the conference mentioned above. I am scheduled to be back at work in a couple of weeks, hopefully more predictable and WiFi friendly route. Until then, safe sailing to you...

Motor Yacht Luna
The very large expedition yacht, Luna, docked at the Port of Montreal, Quai Bickerdike, in front of the iconic Habitat 67,
photo by Martin Leduc, on a bright July evening, in 2012 

 

April 20, 2013

I just uploaded nearly 500 new pictures on www.seafarermedia.com, the maritime photo archive website. Many originals from my travels; a large collection of Great Lakes vessels, various submitted pictures, and of course new pictures of ships, sailors, and machinery in all sorts of predicaments. Have a look, and rate them and / or leave a comment!

I have also been updating the Blue Riband project, which looks at issues of availability and quality of the Marine Engineering human capital in the marine industry. The project, another "hobby" of mine, proposes a new way of "doing things" for marine engineering professionals. Over the last 6 months, I have been exploring the root causes of some of the problems. One of the first article I wrote on the subject, Reap what you sow, has been published in the May issue of BC Shipping News magazine. Have a look at the other articles and send me your feedback.  

I was just enjoying some time off over the winter, after my last ship was repositioned and sold to southern owners. It was a beautiful time, connecting with my spouse and our boys. Now, I started work for a new employer, and my first gig is in Ajman near Dubai. I am working in the AHI shipyard, getting a newer tug ready to come to Canada. So all that to say that I don't have much new stuff to offer in this update, but hopefully you will find something you had not discovered here before. Safe sailings to you all...

MV Bright State loading pulp products in Crofton BC
The bulk carrier MV Bright State loads pulp bundles from the Crofton pulp and paper mill on Vancouver Island in Canada, photo by Martin Leduc, Oct 2007

January 20, 2013

Happy New Year everyone. Hopefully, your 2013 is marked with prosperity and progress for you.

I've been frustrated by the daunting task of upgrading my Certificate of Competency; I explore why, in an extensive article on the process, it's called "Upgrading a Ticket: a view from the bilge". Additionally, you will find three supporting documents, listing the steps and their associate costs, while progressing to the Transport Canada Marine Engineer Class 1 Certificate of Competency following the Cadet Stream, or following the Alternate Path. There is also a cost breakdown for an Engine Room Rating. Pretty scary overall, and may serve to explain why there is such a shortage of senior level engineers, in Canada anyways.

Continuing on the topic of the Marine Engineering career, in the Ship's Library, you will find interest papers and studies - such as salary surveys - from FastStream, Flagship, Coracle, Hays; and some slightly older studies on Marine Engineering Human Resources from Canada and Australia. You will also find there: numerous other documents including the Costa Concordia investigation briefing to IMO, policy information from EMSA and ISF bodies. Also, an interesting paper on calculating ship emissions and how it could affect a shipping company's bottom line. Other environmental reading includes: on ship recycling regulations, CO2 pollution by the ISF, and Greenpeace's report on Toxic Ships. Transport Canada is proposed changes to the Marine Personnel Regulations to meet Manila Amendments requirements, here's what they proposed and more specifically for the engineers. Ever wonder what country ranks where on the Black, Grey or White list under the Paris MOU? You can download the 2010 list and report, and the list from 2006-2008.

Another lot of goodies uploaded to the Machinery Area. For instance a paper on cylinder pressure acquisition technologies, update on Hercules, oppose piston renaissance. Neat information on fuel injection from Roosa, Bosch, and Woodward's. There is more... like refrigeration efficiencies considerations, calculations for bollard pull, etc.

Over on the Seafarer Page, I added more information about the IMO, Member States, Class, Transport Canada, and Port State Control - shipping regulatory information. Corrected the many spelling mistakes my spell checker miss the first time around - arggggh. In the Historical area, you will find four new PDF booklets of Marine Engineering exam questions, dating back from 1939, originating from New Zealand. Pretty neat to see the similarities to todays questions. Also added some new beer related comics, and various quotes and quirks in the Ship's Officer Lounge and other areas as well. You will find a peer's comment, one clarifying the Marine Engineering Apprenticeship program in BC, on Reap what you sow.

CCGS Des Groseilliers breaks ice on a snowy day in December, on the St Lawrence river near Quebec City, in Canada, photo by Martin Leduc, Dec 2010
CCGS Des Groseilliers breaks ice on a snowy day in December, on the St Lawrence river near Quebec City, in Canada, photo by Martin Leduc, Dec 2010

 

October 23, 2012

I've written a commentary / article on the results of the lack of investment in Marine Engineering training on the West Coast of Canada, over 1992-2012. I felt compelled to share, after analyzing the numbers. Read Reap what you sow in the Ship's Library.

New paper on the Gun Engine; the inventor submits his observation for your consideration and comment. Updated the Detroit Diesel history page with some new pictures, and into the new website format. Also, you can find all related pictures on the Seafarer Media submitted gallery.

Kind visitors like you, have submitted some new Marine Engineering exams help over in the "Ship's Library". Got a full bank of questions for the First Class Applied Mechanics, and a full set of answers to those questions. Also, some new Third Class Exam Questions recently encountered at Transport Canada for the EK Motor and EK General exam.

Lots of new links on the main pages, in particular the Historical area, the Job Page, the Seafaring Page, Links area, Training Page too, and more.

Workers at Dakota Creek Shipyard in Anacortes Washington, weld the bow structure for Otto Candies new ship, May 2008 picture by Martin Leduc
Workers at Dakota Creek Shipyard in Anacortes Washington, weld the bow structure for Otto Candies new ship, May 2008 picture by Martin Leduc

 

Sept 27, 2012

Officially launched Seafarer Media (www.seafarermedia.com) today, a stand-alone website, featuring our large picture galleries. Spinning off this large part of the website will allow an easier management of the content both on the main website, and the galleries themselves. It was a sizeable project to undertake, but ultimately will make it easier to manage and upload more content.

The galleries are easy to navigate and feature rating and comment features. They can be viewed by visitor using multiple metrics - such as most recent, most popular, tags, and so on - overall very neat. On this new website you will find my collection of my own work, and collections on weather, people, engine room, and various ships. There is also a "Submitted by Peers" gallery which is separated into additional galleries. Over 2500 pictures in all are hosted there now - with more ready to go in.

I am still maintaining the "Picture Area" on the main website, but this area will feature photo essays and articles based on maritime pictures, as opposed to just straight picture galleries.

Sept 20, 2012

Its been along time coming, and its finally here. I spent a couple of years of working around a defective web authoring program that I used for many years, which caused me many headaches. Then of course the frames style of the website, in use for many years, became a major problem in website structure vis a vis navigation and search. Then the new defacto standard of CMS - Content Management System, such as Wordpress, with many new website adopting it, was a worrying factor for me. What to do??? I already have a ton of popular and relevant content. So I approached a web guru friend of mine for some guidance, he suggested a CMS as well.

Last year, I started experimenting with various CMS, Joomla, Wordpress, etc, B2Evo and such, which meant learning a new programs and their functions. All in all, a neat and fun experience, but a very time consuming endeavor. I saw the benefits of using CMS like the majority of the other website - mainly, a major commercialization step, but having so much content already online, and not interested in making money in itself, I saw that CMS was going to be a major laborious project, to import all my current content into that framework.

So after much discussion with my web guru friend, we went back and started looking at good old' HTML, but getting rid of frames using PHP and CSS. This gives us a uniform look and feel, and be more user, and search engine friendly. So I finally decided to maintain the current structure, a simple structure that has served us so well for many years. However, it cost me quite a bit to get a proper coding done, as do not have this expertise. So I waited many months, until I had enough money from the meager advertising earnings to go ahead with the project.

The result, I think, is exactly what I was after. Not reinventing the wheel, or alienating my visitors, yet making major strides towards being a more accessible resource website. Being an eternal optimistic, I should have known it was going to be far more laborious than anticipated, but in the end, the main areas of the website, the content laden pages were all gone through, text verified for accuracy and flow. New information put in. All links cleaned up. Basically a major refit!

Not going to CMS has allowed me to not be overwhelmed by the entire project - which was a very serious threat, by not being forced to convert all my content right away to the new format. This is why you will sometimes see some webpages in a "simple" format, however not in frames. Over time I will convert the popular pages to the new format. I hope to also carry out some other structural changes once funding allows it, these however should not affect your visit in general.

Thanks for you patience, continued loyalty, and participation in the project. - Martin

For the first edition of the new version of the site, I chose Seaspan's tug and barge as first new header picture. A picture I took, while sailing on a similar tug and barge, back in 2006, in Howe Sound, just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Seaspan tug and barge in Howe Sound 

April 25, 2012

I am sorry, especially to those who have been affected directly.

It appears that The Common Rail, our community forum, has been hacked, and the website has been distributing various redirects to spam considered "low threat" by Sophos security software. If you have security software installed, you should get a message like "Malicious Content Blocked", I got the following malware "Mal/Badscr-M" identified as the threat.

From my experimentation it appears to only affect user using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. I use Firefox and never saw this issue; also tried Google Chrome and no issues there as well.

There is very little info to go on, it took me quite a while to put the piece together as to what is happening. Right now, I am in the process of figuring out a response and have disabled the forum area. It seems to have resulted from a security breach at my host company, Dreamhost.

As I downloading the full content of the forum for analysis, Windows Security Essentials detected a backdoor virus in the Avatar folder (...and promptly deleted without giving me more info - arghhh).

I am in contact with Dreamhost and phpBB to figure out a solution and I will hopefully be back online shortly. - Martin, April 25, 2012, 10:00hrs EST

20:00 hrs EST - The servers were indeed infected, over 200 files were found damaged and have been repaired, others deleted. The site is back up and running and all appears normal, save for a some design aspects. I will be upgrading the software so there may be some weird things going on over the next month.

My wife thinks that the sign of a hacker targeting us is a sign of success, personally I think its so unfortunate that someone would be so smart and waste it on this type of foolish enterprise. It seems they uploaded an Avatar that had malicious code in it, which also created a back door to the website - really sucks, I have no idea how much money, or what have you, can drive this type of behavior. - Martin

 

February 23, 2012

I have been working on a separate, but related, project called Blue Riband. Blue Riband is a fictional business model, an employee controlled entity, much like a professional organization. Many new ideas are proposed as possible solutions to the shortage of Marine Engineers in Canada. The project presents a new way to manage the high quality human capital needed, to make sure shipping remains viable, well into the future. You can visit the project's website at www.blueriband.ca, and discuss it over in The Common Rail.

If you are in Victoria, BC, in Mid March 2012, you can hear me present the ideas, at the monthly technical meeting of the CIMarE Vancouver Island Branch.

My web authoring software remains problematic, with this nagging issue and Blue Riband commanding my time, few new things have made their way on the main site. I am working on modernizing the site which requires cash and a whole lot of time, so bear with me, as the time bit is in very short supply at this stage of my life.

This update's picture was taken in Vlessingen, The Netherlands, back in 2008 I believe. I was there on a ship bringing some fancy cranes to Canada.

Past MMEP header pic

December 15, 2011

No, its not laziness, I don't think so, its just like everyone at this stage of life busy with work and life, my hobby, this site, suffers a bit. All that to say that there is not much new to the site this update.

I have been working on a separate, but related, project called Blue Riband which I hope to introduce shortly. Blue Riband offers solutions to the shortage of Marine Engineers. It's a proposal for a new way to manage the high quality human capital needed, to make sure shipping remains viable, well into the future.

I also received quite a few emails with questions recently encountered while taking Transport Canada marine engineer exams. The new questions were uploaded to the 2nd and 3rd engineer's EK motor and general pages. Look for them all in the Ships Library under the "Exam" area.

This update's header is a picture of the bridges of the cable ship, Baron and Knight. At the time, back in 2003, they had just been built in Korea and were laid up in Nanaimo BC, awaiting work, after the tech bubble crash of 1999. The Dockwise ships have since been sold, and had dramatic facelifts carried out.

Past MMEP header 

August 15, 2011

A "small in number, but large in context" update this time... I actually have a bunch of other stuff to upload but I am having time and technical constraints outside my control. - read below.

James Jensen introduces us to the history of the Detroit Diesel engine, with an emphasis on their use on the West Coast of Canada. We explore creative fixes using Belzona. Allow me to introduce Isaac; Isaac is a Marine Engineering cadet studying in Ghana, he offers us a glimpse of life as a cadet in Africa.

In this update, I uploaded an excellent video on fatigue by the UK's Cardiff University. I found it quite good, because as a seafarer, I can relate to it to a large extent, which is rare it seems, but nice to see. The topic is also very relevant today where the new work rest rules are starting to come into full force, and which run counter to what has been the norm in North America for quite some time.

The summer was very busy for me, work was good, busy, but no major mishaps. I was mostly busy with family life, so like usual the website, this hobby of mine, tends to take a backseat. I am planning a new development for the site, another redesign of sorts. My old Frontpage software was starting to feel a bit dated and was refusing to modernize itself, meaning that the program was getting quite buggy. So I've made the leap and purchased the new Microsoft Web Expression software, this is significant because now I have to learn some new stuff, to which an old skool guy like me might find challenging. Hopefully it comes out ok, but hey, that was / is one of my founding objectives for this site, always learning and improving my skills. Although, like an active construction zone, I will apologize for the mess in advance.

This update's header was a picture taken by yours truly, several years ago, while working on the Rhapsody of the Seas. At anchor, off Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, the MY Tatoosh was nearby. At the time, Tatoosh was reportedly owned by Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen. Tatoosh is actually his second giga yatch; his other is even bigger and is called Octopuss. Must be a real headache keeping track of that much money.

Past MMEP header picture

 

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