Monday, July 26, 2010

Mission to Africa – This is a Drill!

Monday, July 26, 2010
Written by: Victoria Bonk

This week we took time out for the engineers to do some training. The engineers spent a whole day focused on doing basic engineering casualty control exercises (BECCEs) to help crewmembers become trained to respond to machinery casualties in the engine room.

BECCEs are drills in the engine room used to train the watch sections to respond to a casualty on the main diesel engines, generators, reduction gears and the electrical switchboards. The engineering training team (ETT) simulates different types of problems that may happen during an underway watch. The engineers are taught to identify the problem, take initial action and maintain the rest of the engineering plant. They learn when to shut down the machinery or keep it going to maintain propulsion and electrical power. The casualties that they are trained to respond to include loss of lube oil pressure, major fuel leaks, fires and several other possible issues that may come up on a routine underway watch.

“This was my first BECCE experience as an engineer. I feel a lot more confident and prepared as a qualified machinery watch stander because of the experience,” said EM3 Francisco Fano, an electrician aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk. “The engineering training team is very knowledgeable in casualty control procedures so they were great shipmates to learn from. They made it seem a lot more like a training environment than a chaotic one, so that really helped make the learning experience go very smoothly.”

“The training was the final step in five of our shipmates’ quest to earn their machinery watch qualifications. This proved that they have the knowledge to post their watch on their own and can be trusted to respond to any type of engineering problem that may arise,” said Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Green, the main propulsion assistant aboard the Mohawk. “Both the training team and the watchstanders stepped up to achieve this milestone in our shipmates’ careers.”

Even in the heat of the engine room and stress of the drills everyone qualified Wednesday. They completed every drill successfully and will be ready just in case something goes wrong in the engine room while we are underway.

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