Volume 1, Number 1, Page 2


October 1997


In the following article, Willie Amaro, the Divemaster on the NOAA Ship Albatross IV, (A-4) describes a technique he developed for clearing a saltwater intake pipe that was fouled with muscle growth.

"The A-4 has a high and low water intake that leads down into the engine room. Upon inspection of the lower intake I found little muscle growth. When I inspected the high intake I found that the grating was clean but the 12-inch pipe behind the grate was almost totally closed due to muscle growth. This intake is about 10 ft below the water line so I knew that this was not going to be an easy job. After removal of the intake grating, (with pneumatic tools), we closed off the lower intake by u-bolting a plywood patch through the grating. We then contracted the local "Roto-Rooter" service with a high-pressure (4500psi) water jet/snake machine. The water jet nozzle has two forward facing jets and six facing aft. The forward jets are designed to break up the clog while the aft jets propelled the snake forward and wash out debris."

"Prior to entering the water, I placed a red mark 8 ft from the end of the nozzle, since I wanted to know when the tip was close at hand. We then took the snake down and put it in the pipe. We fed the snake into the pipe by hand and initially, it would only go in about 4 feet. The machine operator changed the cleaning head and we tried again, this time it went in an additional 10 ft. I pushed it forward as far as I could, then had one diver go topside to tell the operator to start the machine. You should have seen the stuff coming out, it was unbelievable, total blackout. All I could see was the lights that the other diver had fixed on the opening of the pipe."

"I guided the snake and fed it throughout the pipe, all the way across the engine room for a total of 45 ft. I then made myself negatively buoyant, put both my feet firmly on the ship's hull and started the long process of hauling back the snake, under pressure, one foot at a time. When I got to the red marker I stopped hauling and just guided the thing back down the pipe again, repeating the process six additional times. Once we were finished the pipe looked like new. The job took 8 hours over two days and saved the ship $25-30K."

This technique can be utilized by several NOAA ships and provides significant cost savings when compaired to vessel down time and shipyard replacement cost. Job well done Willie.End of article


The January Working Diver course in Key West is full. The Divemaster class has a few openings. If you have not already enrolled personnel in the class and have an absolute need, call NDC for options. The next class is scheduled for May of 1998. We have several openings for the December EMT training class. Please contact NDC as soon as possible if you have any candidates for this training. There are two scheduled refresher training classes. If you would like a refresher class in your area, contact NDC for avalibility. The following training classes are scheduled through May 1998:

November 3 - 7Working RefresherSan Diego, CA
December 1 - 12EMTSeattle, WA
December 15 - 19DMTSeattle, WA
January 5 - 23Working DiverKey West, FL
January 18VCIKey West, FL
January 18 - 22DivemasterKey West, FL
February 2 - 6Working RefresherSeattle, WA
May 4 -22Working DiverSeattle, WA
May 16VCISeattle, WA
May 18 - 22DivemasterSeattle, WA

If you are interested in any of the above listed training, contact Laurie Barber at (206) 526-6695, or leave us a message.End of article

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