Memorandum on Albatross, 11 Aug 78


[Handwritten notation at top of page: “Dad”]

Memorandum of Report


From: Richard Janaro 11 August 78

History of problem:

1) In March-April, 1978, GEAR BOX WAS EXAMINED by Marine Engineer REGINALD PERSAUD. He advised to replace clutch plates, bearing in shaft cone and bearing in rear of shaft. Clutch plates were replaced and bearings were ordered from Holland.

Persaud said it would be okay to use the vessel until the new bearings arrived. They did arrive two months later and were placed in Rambaran’s shop. THE VESSEL HAD BY THIS TIME CHANGED OWNERSHIP.

(It has to be considered that some problem had caused the gear box examination in the spring…)

2) After unloading 300 tons in Port Kaituma and on return to Georgetown, transmission stalled engine twice – once while docking in Mauriwana and again in Georgetown, when changing from forward to reverse.

It was the following day, while changing to yet another dock, that the problem developed into more severe symptoms.

Cargo commitment: Meanwhile, I had obtained a cargo commitment from John Fernandes, Jr., (Agent) and dock space for immediate loading. WHEN I INFORMED THE CREW, THE CAPT & CHIEF ENGR. REPORTED THE PROBLEM … and advised against packing with the cargo. They urged an examination by a marine mechanic.

Rambaran: I contacted Rambaran who tried to reach the former engineer Reggie Persaud, but Reggie had left with his family on an extended vacation to the United States.

Rambaran also left on a vacation with “his” family that evening – unusual to the extent that he normally goes to Trinidad every week, but does not normally take his family with him… He usually lest [leaves?] for Port of Spain each week on business.

Before leaving, Rambaran gave us access to any parts he had in his shop for the vessel.

Marine Engineer: Through various contacts we reached another Marine Engine specialist widely used by local shippers. His recommendation was to dissemble the box to locate the problem.

The Captain, Chief Engineer and Assistant Engineer for the boat agreed to work with the consulting engineer and his staff and do much of the labor and assisting in order to save time and costs.

Approximately 10 days later, with Cleve [Cleave Swinney], crew members, Engineer and staff, the gear box was finally dismantled.



Diagnosis of Defect: Inspection revealed a cracked and damaged shaft cone; heat destruction of the bearing; overheated clutch plate ruined; lining on all seven clutch plates burned up.

Also, reparable damage was sustained by gear box components from using hammers, chisels, crow bars, torches and press and pullers in the dismantling process.

WHAT IS NEEDED: We must try to facilitate having the vessel operated as soon as possible:

1) Cost in revenue loss is approximately $800 per day;
2) Cost of crew and stores, $3800 per month;
3) Cost of dock (wharfage) $25 per day;
4) And in addition there is depreciation and insurance which I have no figures to compute.

Procedures: We have telexed the manufacturer for:

4 forward clutch plates with lining and

3 reverse clutch plates with lining

Lining material to install our own plates.

We need to expedite Cleve’s efforts to repair the shaft, bolts and gearbox casing with access to machine shop equipment. However, as was stated in this morning’s meeting, probably the insurance may require repair under supervision of the Marine Engineer since the gearbox is the most sensitive part of the entire ship, and totally affects the steering and control of the ship both in port and at sea. We will come up with more specific recommendations after meeting tonight.