Removing the Machinery to Lighten the Ship?


A

Aaron_2016

Guest
When the Olympic was being repaired in Belfast following her collision with HMS Hawke the Belfast Newsletter said:


'Operations were carried out night and day, in order that the vessel might be ready to resume her place in the White Star fleet at the earliest possible day. It was necessary to relieve the liner of a good deal of her machinery before she could be admitted into dry dock, but this task gave comparatively little trouble. For completion of the work the Olympic was removed to the new deep water wharf. Before she could be turned in preparation for her departure, dredging operations had to be undertaken. These were accelerated as much as possible, and yesterday the vessel was successfully turned, so as to be in readiness for leaving the port at high tide about nine o'clock this morning.'

Does anyone know what machinery they were talking about and how they managed to get it out of the ship? If this had taken place in order for the Olympic to enter the dry dock, does this mean it also happened to the Titanic as she was temporarily moved into the dry dock in March so that the Olympic could turn around and depart.

Note - When the Olympic and Titanic were changing places in the dry dock there was a terrible accident involving a crane. It is unclear if the crane fell, but a shipyard worker was badly injured. I wonder if they were moving the machinery that was taken out of the Titanic or the Olympic but it became too heavy and caused the crane to fall.


Link to Belfast news article

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/community/attachments/march8tha-png.3024/


.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
5,013
247
333
I suspect the newspaper article is inaccurate, like so many media accounts of shipping incidents. They still can't tell Gross Tonnage from Displacement. (See accounts of recent USN accidents.)

At her waterline, Olympic rose one inch for every 150 tons reduction in her displacement. Even the removal of 1,000 tons would make little difference to he draft. The really heavy equipment, such as boilers, was deep inside the ship and couldn't be removed without dismantling much of her upperworks. I'd take the report with a little NaCl.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
I recently read on this forum's archive that the Olympic's boilers were removed in 1913.

By Mark Chirnside -
"Olympic's funnels and boilers were removed in 1913 to allow space for the double skin to be installed, before they were lowered into the ship and reinstalled. In one boiler room the middle boiler was replaced with a smaller one to add to the space."

There was also a discussion about the funnels on the Olympic being removed to allow the boilers to be lifted in and out during her 1913 alterations. After the war the Olympic was converted to oil instead of coal. Unsure if the funnels were removed again during her oil conversion. My understanding is that in order to enter the dry dock the funnels were removed and the boilers were taken out during her repairs following the collision with HMS Hawke, but in March 1912 she returned to her dry dock to replace a broken propeller blade and when she left the dry dock she struck the seabed or ran aground at west twin island (depending on different news reports) and had to immediately return to dry dock again for inspection. Unsure if her boilers were removed for those two occasions. Perhaps they were under pressure to have the propeller fixed and return to service and they did not have time to remove her machinery and took the risk which led to her grounding on the mud bank and having to return for inspection. However, even then, they still did not waste any time as they decided to move the Titanic out of the way and then bring the Titanic into the dry dock to give the Olympic more room and depth to depart without any further incident. This leads me to believe there may have been a mishap because the choice not to remove her machinery may have ultimately led to her running aground / striking the mud bank. It was also at this time when the mishap with the crane took place. Perhaps they were attempting to remove the funnels or machinery but owing to the pressures they were under to move both ships 'in the same tide' there was a mishap which may have led to the crane falling and they decided to take the risk not to remove the machinery which led to her grounding on the mud bank owing to her weight. Then again it simply could have been the weather.

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/community/attachments/olympicaccident-png.3026/

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/community/attachments/papermarch7-png.3022/


I know conspiracy theorists would say the decision to save time and not remove the Olympic's and Titanic's machinery as they switched places in the dry dock may have resulted in the Titanic damaging her bottom and caused something to buckle underneath which probably went unnoticed or did not develop into a serious problem until she broke in two and sank. Then again, they would say the accident involving the crane may have resulted in something heavy being dropped inside the ship and damaged her bottom plates, or that in order to remove the machinery they cut a section of the hull out of the ship's port side and moved the machinery in and out that way and then patched her up again which made that part of the ship weaker and ultimately led to the machinery falling out of her port side when she listed heavily to port during the sinking and then suddenly broke in two. My guess is, in March 1912 the men were simply under pressure to get the Olympic out and they took the risk and did not remove her machinery at all, and they also brought the Titanic into dry dock without removing her machinery as well because it would delay the Olympic's departure and delay the Titanic's completion. So they took a chance and believed nothing would go wrong, and likely nothing did go wrong, except for the Olympic striking a mud bank and the tragic incident with the crane.

.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Doug Criner

Member
Dec 2, 2009
428
44
133
USA
I believe that in nautical lingo, perhaps particularly in older times, the term "machinery" more generally encompassed what we might think of as "equipment." I have an old text, titled "Naval Auxiliary Machinery," which covers many components that would not be considered popularly as "machines." Similarly, the naval enlisted rate of "machinist mate," doesn't just operate machine tools, such as lathes and grinders, but mainly operates and maintains all the ship's installed mechanical equipment (i.e., "machinery"). I realize this elaboration doesn't answer the original poster's question posed by the newspaper article.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Interesting. Would the removal of her cranes and anchors be included as part of a ship's 'machinery'? Would they lighten her to a great degree?

.
 

Similar threads