Torquepower’s international field service team conducted a midlife overhaul on two Cummins K38 – V12 engines in Noumea.
A tropical French enclave, New Caledonia is located in the second biggest coral reef in the world 1500 kms east of Australia in the heart of the South Pacific, and is made up of four archipelagos and 33 islands.
The Laura III is a 2300 tonne cargo vessel that flies a New Caledonia Flag and has a home port in beautiful Noumea. Built in 2009, the vessel is a drive-on, drive-off island trader which freights containers, cars and trucks between the islands.
Specification wise, Laura III is a Heavy Load Carrier with a length of 78.1m and a beam of 16m. She draws just 3 metres and has recorded a maximum speed of 14 knots.
As you read this, Laura III is likely to be steaming along at 10 knots in a pleasant 23 degrees between the islands, powered by 2 impressive Cummins K38 engines each producing 1350HP.
But last week all was quiet as the Torquepower service team flew out from Brisbane to carry out a 6000 hour mid-life service on the engines in the vessel’s home port. The Tahitian crew had organised a scheduled shut down for just a week so the pressure was on!
Says Michael Mercer, one of Torquepower specialist technicians: “ The midlife service had us replacing turbos, water pumps, fuel pumps and injectors. We carried out a full overhead adjustment for each engine, replaced thermostats, resealed the heat exchangers, replaced hoses and supplied fresh engine fluids.
The engines were really well presented and their condition was a credit to the engineers on board the Laura III. We were able to commission each engine following the works but we couldn’t carry out a sea trial because of the sheer size of the boat.”
“It was hot and muggy at around 36 degrees with 100% humidity. We drank eighteen 1.5 litre bottles of water in 4 days . Yes, we would have liked to jump in the water to cool off, but with a big fish works at the nearby Port, diving crews had lookouts for tiger sharks to protect the antifouling crew. We had great help from both the Chief Engineer and Second Engineer, they were cluey; there was a bit of a language barrier both ways but we were able to work around that without a problem.“
“From what we could see there are three ports in Noumea, one for Cruise ships, one for freight and shipping and one for the nearby Nickel Mines. We worked 7am till 6pm, long days, but when we were waiting for a heat exchanger to arrive, we had a quick dip in Anse Veta Bay. “
A local company antifouled and repainted the hull and blasted the bilge tanks while the Torquepower team completed the work on the engines. They were ably assisted by the crew (pictured ) Ghislain Drayton ( Superintendent); Norbert Natua ( Head Engineer) ; Karl Kaimukpo ( Cheif Mate); Bob Tearaimoana (2ndEngineer ); Sylvain Uedre ( 3rd Engineer) and Manava Paepaetaata ( Oiler ).
Torquepower Workshop Manager Carl Bickle, who also travelled over to assist with the repairs adds: “They really were a great bunch of guys to work with. It was a difficult job, but with a big engine room and a genuinely helpful crew, the work was made easier than it would otherwise have been.
The highlight for me was definitely the start-up; after some long hot days, the engines ran sweetly and I knew we were good to go home. “
https://www.torquepower.com.au/field-service/ 0732778277 170 Beatty Road, ARCHERFIELD AUSTRALIA